Interprofessional Collaboration in the Care of Children With Complex Care Needs: The Experiences of Children, Their Families, and the Intersectoral Care Team

Jillian Lamb, Dr. Shelley Doucet, Dr. Alison Luke

Abstract


Introduction: Coordinated care has the potential to provide positive outcomes for children with complex care needs (CCN) and their caregivers. This population requires a multitude of services that are administered by various providers across sectors. Research has shown that care for this demographic can be improved through interprofessional care models and communication among providers. The primary objective of this study was to explore the barriers to collaboration among members of the care team. The second objective was to identify ways to improve coordination between caregivers and providers. Methods: This qualitative study focused on the perspectives of caregivers of children with CCN, health professionals, educators, and social care providers regarding their experiences with interprofessional collaboration in the care of children with CCN and their families in two Atlantic Canadian provinces (New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island). The study was conducted using semi-structured interviews of 32 family members and 88 stakeholders from the educational, health, and social sectors. Interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Results: Participants included caregivers, health-care providers, educators, social workers, and therapists. All participants were involved in the care of children with CCN. Findings indicate that participants experience difficulties when accessing primary care and support services for children with CCN. These barriers were correlated with fragmented and uncoordinated care. Results were organized into three main themes: (a) Role Clarification, (b) Communication, and (c) Patient/Family-Centred Care. Each theme was explained through subthemes highlighting experiences of caregivers and care providers across sectors. Discussion: This study emphasized the need for increased research and evidence-based practices to address the current barriers to collaboration among care providers and caregivers when caring for children with CCN. By providing a patient-centred approach, there is opportunity to improve collaboration among providers and with caregivers while meeting the care needs of children with CCN.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15273/hpj.v1i2.10654

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