To explore home care nurses' experiences of implementation and use of checklists developed for improving continuity of care for older patients (65+ years).
The Norwegian Coordination Reform was implemented to improve coordination between hospitals and communities and facilitate a quicker return to home community after hospital discharge. To follow-up, national learning networks were initialised to improve pathways for chronically ill older patients, including the development and use of standardised checklists.
An explorative qualitative design was chosen.
Three focus group interviews were conducted, including 18 registered nurses from eight municipalities in southern Norway. Systematic text condensation was used to analyse the interview texts. The COREQ checklist was followed.
Three categories emerged from the analysis. (a) "The implementation process" included the experiences of a chaotic beginning, the importance of involvement, the leaders' role and resource allocation. (b) "Pros and cons of checklists in use" included the informants' experiences of checklists' usefulness for nurses and the patients. (c) "Competence needed" included the need for a comprehensive set of formal, experiential and social competences.
The leaders' role, support and engagement are decisive for a successful implementation. To succeed and establish solid routines, allocating resources when implementing new laborious routines, such as checklists, is important. To improve holistic continuity of care to chronically ill older patients, checklists should be customisable to each patient's needs, be comprehensive enough to grasp the essence in what to be done at several time points, but at the same time brief enough to be operational. Checklists can be a useful tool for home care nurses, if customised to the individual municipality and the staffs' working routines. It is important that the staff have versatile and extensive competencies enabling them to use the checklists appropriately.