Using Network Analysis to Understand and Advance Falls Prevention Services and Programs
The purpose of this study was to understand referral linkages that exist among falls prevention agencies in a southern Ontario region using network analysis theory. This was a single case study which included fifteen individual interviews. The data was analyzed through the constant comparative approach. Ten themes emerged and are classified into internal and external factors. Themes associated with internal factors are: 1) health professionals initiating services; 2) communication strategies; 3) formal partnerships; 4) trust; 5) program awareness; and 6) referral policies. Themes associated with external factors are: 1) client characteristics; 2) primary and community care collaboration; 3) networking; and 4) funding. Recommendations to improve the referral pathway are: 1) electronic database; 2) electronic referral forms; 3) educating office staff; and 4) education days. This study outlined the benefit of using network analysis to understand referral pathways and the importance of implementing strategies that will improve falls prevention referral pathways.