Interprofessional care in a retirement and assisted living community: the complexity of teamwork

Tina R. Kilaberia, Joseph R. Merighi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Teamwork is an aspiration in the delivery of interprofessional care to older adults, but how does it play out in residential settings that combine independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care? This study investigated teamwork as an organic part of a retirement and assisted living community immersed in mission-driven care. Drawing on 44 in-depth interviews, 62 meeting observations, and five years of immersion in the setting by the first author, we explored the complex dynamics of teamwork. Our overarching findings showed that co-location aided by physical design and a mission-driven investment in care may not be sufficient to effect teamwork in a complex care environment, and that the organizational context was potentially damaging to teamwork. Our study highlights opportunities to improve teamwork and interprofessional collaboration in organizational settings that combine the provision of health and social care. Increasing expectations for teamwork outcomes may prove essential as retirement and assisted living care settings offer supportive and therapeutic environments for older adults who move between different levels of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-876
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023


  • Care organization
  • housing and care residential setting
  • older adults
  • organizational ethnography
  • team-based care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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