Integrated funds for health and social care are one possible way of improving care for people with complex care requirements. If integrated funds facilitate coordinated care, this could support improvements in patient experience, and health and social care outcomes, reduce avoidable hospital admissions and delayed discharges, and so reduce costs. In this article, we examine whether this potential has been realized in practice.
We propose a framework based on agency theory for understanding the role that integrated funding can play in promoting coordinated care, and review the evidence to see whether the expected effects are realized in practice. We searched eight electronic databases and relevant websites, and checked reference lists of reviews and empirical studies. We extracted data on the types of funding integration used by schemes, their benefits and costs (including unintended effects), and the barriers to implementation. We interpreted our findings with reference to our framework ...