Objective: To develop an in-depth understanding of a shared care model from primary mental health and nutrition care practitioners with a focus on program goals, strengths, challenges and target population benefits. Design: Qualitative method of focus groups. Setting/Participants: The study involved fifty-three practitioners from the Hamilton Health Service Organization Mental Health and Nutrition Program located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Method: Six focus groups were conducted to obtain the perspective of practitioners belonging to various disciplines or health care teams. A qualitative approach using both an editing and template organization styles was taken followed by a basic content analysis. Main findings: Themes revealed accessibility, interdisciplinary care, and complex care as the main goals of the program. Major program strengths included flexibility, communication/collaboration, educational opportunities, access to patient information, continuity of care, and maintenance of practitioner and patient satisfaction. Shared care was described as highly dependent on communication style, skill and expertise, availability, and attitudes toward shared care. Time constraint with respect to collaboration was noted as the main challenge. Conclusion: Despite some challenges and variability among practices, the program was perceived as providing better patient care by the most appropriate practitioner in an accessible and comfortable setting
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