The Norwegian health care system is complex and multileveled, with numerous different services. For a patient or next of kin navigating through the system can be both difficult and time-consuming. Studies have shown that services within the social- and health sector are poorly coordinated and lack consistent planning and clearly defined responsibility. As a consequence the central health authorities introduced the Individual Plan arrangement for individuals in need of long-term and coordinated services. The intention behind Individual Plan is to give service users a complete and consistent range of services, where the responsibility and role of the different service providers are clearly defined. It is a tool that aims to promote cooperation between service providers, coordination between services, and involvement and empowerment for the individual service users and their families.
Is the concept of Individual Plan only a political ideal with no real life relevance, or is it welcomed by service users and service providers? How is the arrangement carried out and does it meet the requirements that have been defined? This thesis investigates the qualitative aspect of Individual Plan based on in-depth interviews with primary contacts, coordinators and parents that are involved with Individual Plans for mentally and physically disabled children, living in a care facility in the Oslo region. The findings indicate that the practise of using Individual Plan is characterised by a lack of established routines and guidelines at the city district level, and relies mostly on the individual coordinator and their understanding of the arrangement. Consequently, there are a variety of methods of using Individual Plan in the cases presented in the thesis. Furthermore, the informants have mixed experiences with Individual Plan. A major source of misunderstanding, frustration and uncertainty is the written plan document, while most of the informants are more positive towards participating in the responsibility groups. Many of the informants are uncertain whether the Individual Plan is an efficient tool for promoting interaction, coordination and user participation, and stress that several factors have to come together to fulfil the purpose of Individual Plan arrangement