Seniors' Campus Continuums: Local Solutions for Broad Spectrum Seniors Care
Background: As demand and desire to "age-in-place" grows within an aging population, challenges exist to realizing this wish. Changing demographics and new areas of need have governments nationally and internationally calling for more focused attention on integrative approaches to health and well-being. Seniors' Campus Continuums are models of care that seek to broaden access to an array of services and housing options to meet the growing health and social needs of aging populations in their
... lations in their communities . The objective of this study is to increase understanding of this integrative model through the exploration of factors that influence Campus development, functioning, and scope and extent of integration of care for older adults wishing to remain in their own home and community.Methods: This research uses a comparative case study approach across six bounded cases offering four physically co-located components – mixed independent housing options, internal community supports to residents, external community supports to the broader community, and a long-term care home – to explore how Seniors' Campus Continuums operating in various contexts across Ontario, Canada integrate health, housing and social care for older adults.Results: Seniors' Campus Continuums come in different shapes, sizes, and geographies however, they share many influencing factors in their evolution, design, function, and ability to integrate a broad range of supports and services for older adults with different and progressive needs. Enabling factors include i. rich historical legacies of helping people in need; ii. organizational vision and readiness to capitalize on key windows of opportunity; iii. leveraging organizational structure and capacity; iv. intentional physical and social design; v. broad services mix, amenities and innovative partnerships. Impeding factors include vi. policy hurdles and rigidities; vii. human resources shortages and inequities; and viii. funding limitations. A number of benefits afforded by campuses at an individual, organizational and system level were observed. Conclusion: Findings from this research provide detailed descriptions of campus continuums from inception to expansion and highlight opportunities to optimize their potential on many levels. At an individual level, campuses increase local access to a coordinated range of care services, supports and housing options that can be tailored to benefit their health and social care needs. At an organizational level, campuses offer enhanced collaboration opportunities across providers and partners to improve consistency and coordination of care, access to shared resources, expertise and infrastructure, improved economies of scale, and rich environments for training/research, education and volunteering. At a system level, they offer potential to address a diversity of health, social, financial, and housing needs to help seniors avoid premature or inappropriate use of higher intensity care settings. This study fills a gap in evidence-based research on this integrative model and offers lessons to consider for future "age-friendly" policy development.