Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

pp 1-2

Date: Latest Version

Continuity of Care

  • Marie BoltzAffiliated withThe Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing, State College Email author 


Care Continuity


Continuity of care refers to the seamless provision of health care between settings and over time (Gulliford et al. 2006).

Traditionally, patients have viewed care continuity as a permanent relationship with a dependable, caring health-care professional (Gulliford et al. 2011). This view, defined as interpersonal continuity of care, implies that the identified professional is the sole source of care and information for the patient. To health-care providers, continuity of care has historically implied the exchange of information, e.g., between shifts of nurses, between units of a health-care facility, and between providers such as acute care and a nursing home. Coleman et al. (2006) define the flow of information between different locations or different levels of care within the same location as “transitional care” necessary to ensure the coordination and continuity of health care as patients move through different settings. Organizational approaches foun ...

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