Development and implementation of a paediatric rehabilitation care path for hard-to-reach families: a case report

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Service providers, policy makers and researchers are increasingly concerned with service provisions for hard-to-reach families. These are defined as families who are eligible for a service, but are difficult for service providers to identify or engage. In our setting, hard-to-reach families were those who missed appointments without prior notice, a problem that was inefficient for the organization, frustrating for clinicians and did not meet child or family needs. This case report describes the development of a care path to promote engagement with hard-to-reach families (MATCH: Making Alternative Therapy Choices Happen) and its adoption among clinicians within a community-based paediatric rehabilitation centre in Ontario, Canada. The care path was developed and implemented at a pilot site at KidsAbility Centre for Child Development (KidsAbility), which allowed us to tailor the care path using clinician input via questionnaires, and to monitor use of the care path. Following pilot implementation clinicians reported being satisfied with the approach and perceived improved child and family outcomes. The care path was expanded to four service sites using a Knowledge Brokering model. After training, clinicians reported a good understanding of the care path: 87% felt that they would have an opportunity to use it within six months, however only 68% felt ready to use it. Challenges to offering MATCH and continuing training preferences were investigated. The MATCH care path illustrates a practical application of the principles of best-practice for engaging hard-to-reach families, tailored for a specific paediatric rehabilitation setting. Continued research is planned to further define the hard-to-reach families within paediatric rehabilitation, determine how hard-to-reach families view engagement in services, and evaluate the effectiveness of MATCH implementation in reducing missed appointments and promoting family engagement in paediatric rehabilitation services.

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