Introduction: The PRISMA integration model is a promising method to implement integration in health and social services for elderly people. The PRISMA France study aims to investigate the implementation of this model, which relies on the establishment of advisory boards at institutional, organisational and professional levels of decision-making, in France. These boards are guided by whole systems thinking and function in a joined-up, co-ordinated manner.
Method: A qualitative approach was adopted to study the model's implementation. Analyses were based on semi-structured interviews with actors of all levels of decision-making, observations of advisory board meetings and administrative documentations. Validity was insured by triangulation methods and content saturation.
Results: Our analyses revealed the complexity, instability and fragmentation of the institutional governance of publics policies for elderly people. The ‘path dependence’ to the Bismarckian system and the incomplete reforms of gerontological policies generate a cohabitation of three concurrent policies (national, regional and local) and a juxtaposition of two institutional systems (health and social care policy and social welfare). In such a context, no institution possesses sufficient authority to determine gerontological policy.
Conclusion: In the light of these analyse, the particularly complex and time-consuming implementation of the PRISMA model in France can be better understood.