Families' perceived benefits of home visits for managing paediatric obesity outweigh the potential costs and barriers

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Abstract

Aim

Home visits have successfully been used to deliver various health services, but what role could they play in paediatric weight management? Low treatment initiation and high attrition prompted our multidisciplinary paediatric weight management clinic to investigate how families perceived the benefits and barriers of home visits.

Methods

We focused on children with obesity aged 2–17 who were enrolled in our tertiary-level clinic in Alberta, Canada. None had received a home visit. The families were interviewed face-to-face from October 2015 to October 2016, and we used a qualitative description methodological framework and manifest content analysis. The parents were the main interviewees.

Results

Of the 56 families, 89% were interested in a home visit, 82% wanted support from a dietician and 54% from an exercise specialist. The perceived benefits of home visits included comprehensive assessment (95%), convenience (86%), tailored care (29%) and family involvement (13%), while the costs and barriers included clinicians' potential judgmental attitudes (30%), loss of privacy (19%) and distractions (10%). Some thought clinicians would find home visits inconvenient (25%), with bureaucratic challenges (14%) and sustainability issues (5%).

Conclusion

Families felt home visits were a convenient option for managing paediatric obesity and identified important benefits and barriers that could guide such interventions.

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