Care Coordination Between Medical and Early Intervention Services: Family and Provider Perspectives

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The purpose of this exploratory study is to identify facilitators and barriers to care coordination between medical and early intervention (EI) providers for children with special health care needs and their families. Fifty adults participated in one of six focus groups. Participants included parents/caregivers, pediatricians, hospital therapy providers, and EI providers. Guiding questions were designed to obtain participants perceptions. All focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed. Transcript analysis included identification of open codes, grouping into axial codes and using constant comparative methods in data analysis. The two primary researchers established interrater reliability (κ = 0.85) before data analysis. The six themes that emerged from data analysis are as follows: (1) information exchange; (2) approaches toward child and family care; (3) supporting family social and emotional needs; (4) perceptions of service provider roles; (5) communication among parents and providers; and (6) understanding service delivery systems. Focus group participants suggested that provider roles should be defined and family and child strengths and needs should be addressed. Recommendations for improved care coordination were provided and include communication training and skill building and using technology to enhance communication and collaboration.

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