201502 Co-located pediatric mental health services: Perspectives from parents

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 12:30 PM

Eileen Dryden, PhD , Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Karen Hacker, MD MPH , Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
While integrating behavioral and physical health care is considered an important goal in the effective delivery of child mental health services, few models of integrated care have been studied. Most importantly, little is known about how parents experience the benefits of such care. In 2005, in order to ease access to and increase satisfaction with child mental health services, the Cambridge Health Alliance adopted one model of integrated care by co-locating mental health providers (clinical social workers) in pediatric settings. To understand the consumer's perspective on this model, we conducted a qualitative study with parents of children referred from pediatric providers and seen at least once by a co-located social worker. Interview questions focused on their experiences with co-location. Of the 39 parents that signed consents to participate in the study in 2007, we were able to contact ten that agreed to be interviewed in person. The respondents included both English and Portuguese speaking parents of children between ten and seventeen years old. The interviews identified particular characteristics of the co-located system that appear to increase satisfaction with the referral and appointment process. These include strong relationships with pediatricians and the provision of timely appointments. Other perceived advantages of co-location included: comfort and familiarity of setting, convenience, communication opportunities between pediatricians and social workers, and lack of stigma. All these factors contribute to easing access to mental health services for children. The parents' responses suggest that co-location is an effective model for delivering mental health services to this population.

Learning Objectives:
Identify characteristics of a co-located system for children and adolescents that appear to increase parental satisfaction with the referral and appointment process. Describe perceived advantages to consumers of the co-location model.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a doctorate in Anthropology and am a research associate at the Institute for Community Health. I am the evaluator for the "Integrated Comprehensive Care for Children" project. Part of this project includes co-locating mental health professionals in pediatric settings which is the focus of this abstract. I conducted and analyzed the interviews that are the subject of this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.