Screening for congenital heart malformation in child health centres.
BACKGROUND: Although screening for congenital heart malformations is part of the child health care programme in several countries, there are very few published evaluations of these activities. This report is concerned with the evaluation of this screening at the Dutch Child Health Centres (CHC). METHODS: All consecutive patients, aged between 32 days and 4 years, presented at the Sophia Children's Hospital Rotterdam throughout a period of 2 years, with a congenital heart malformation were included in this study. Paediatric cardiologists established whether or not these patients were diagnosed after haemodynamic complications had already developed (diagnosed 'too late'). Parents and CHC-physicians were interviewed in order to establish the screening and detection history. Test properties were established for all patients with a congenital heart malformation (n = 290), intended effects of screening were established in patients with clinically significant malformations (n = 82). RESULTS: The sensitivity of the actual screening programme was 0.57 (95% CI : 0.51-0.62), the specificity 0.985 (95% CI : 0.981-0.990) and the predictive value of a positive test result 0.13 (95% CI: 0.10-0.19). Sensitivity in a subpopulation of patients adequately screened was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.74-0.96). Adequately screened patients were less likely to be diagnosed 'too late' than inadequately screened patients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.20, 95% CI: 0.04-1.05). The actual risk of being diagnosed 'too late' in the study-population (48%) was only slightly less than the estimated risk for patients not exposed to CHC-screening (58%, 95% CI: 43%-72%). Adequately screened patients however were at considerably less risk (17%, 95% CI: 4%-48%). CONCLUSION: Screening for congenital heart malformations in CHC contributes to the timely detection of these disorders. The actual yield, however, is far from optimal, and the screening programme should be improved. (+info)
Developmental and paediatric care of the pre-school child.
Through an Upjohn Travelling Fellowship I visited 27 experts in childcare and sought their opinions on the privileges, possibilities, and problems in organising developmental and paediatric care for pre-school children in the United Kingdom.The role of the general practitioner was seen by many of the experts clearly. How he is to play it is shrouded in uncertainty. Research is urgently needed both on the tools of surveillance and on the different methods of arranging care. (+info)
Health needs of preschool children.
An epidemiological study of disease in a geographically identified population of 250 children is reported. 22% had not seen their general practitioner (GP) at all in the past year, while 20% had seen him four times or more. The vast majority of these visits were because of an infective illness; and developmental and behavioural problems were rarely presented to GPs. 53% of children had not been to hospital since birth, but 11% had been at least four times. Respiratory infections and middle ear disease were the commonest illness reported, and nearly 3% had an infected or discharging ear at the time of examination. 15% of 3 year olds had speech and language problems. 18% of children over 2 years were thought by the examiners to have a behavioural problem, half being assessed as mild, the remainder as moderate or severe. (+info)
Use of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist to screen for psychosocial problems in pediatric primary care: a national feasibility study.
BACKGROUND: Routine use of a brief psychosocial screening instrument has been proposed as a means of improving recognition, management, and referral of children's psychosocial morbidity in primary care. OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility of routine psychosocial screening using the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) in pediatrics by using a brief version of the checklist in a large sample representative of the full range of pediatric practice settings in the United States and Canada. We evaluated large-scale screening and the performance of the PSC in detecting psychosocial problems by (1) determining whether the prevalence of psychosocial dysfunction identified by the PSC was consistent with findings in previous, smaller samples; (2) assessing whether the prevalence of positive PSC screening scores varied by population subgroups; and (3) determining whether the PSC was completed by a significant proportion of parents from all subgroups and settings. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-one thousand sixty-five children between the ages of 4 and 15 years were seen in 2 large primary care networks: the Ambulatory Sentinel Practice Network and the Pediatric Research in Office Settings network, involving 395 pediatric and family practice clinicians in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and 4 Canadian provinces. Parents were asked to complete a brief questionnaire that included demographic information, history of mental health services, the 35-item PSC, and the number of pediatric visits within the past 6 months. RESULTS: The overall prevalence rates of psychosocial dysfunction as measured by the PSC in school-aged and preschool-aged pediatric outpatients (13% and 10%, respectively) were nearly identical to the rates that had been reported in several smaller samples (12%-14% among school-aged children and 7%-14% among preschoolers). Consistent with previous findings, children from low-income families were twice as likely to be scored as dysfunctional on the PSC than were children from higher-income families. Similarly, children from single-parent as opposed to those from 2-parent families and children with a past history of mental health services showed an elevated risk of psychosocial impairment. The current study was the first to demonstrate a 50% increase in risk of impairment for male children. The overall rate of completed forms was 97%, well within an acceptable range, and at least 94% of the parents in each sociodemographic subgroup completed the PSC form. CONCLUSIONS: Use of the PSC offers an approach to the recognition of psychosocial dysfunction that is sufficiently consistent across groups and locales to become part of comprehensive pediatric care in virtually all outpatient settings. In addition to its clinical utility, the consistency and widespread acceptability of the PSC make it well suited for the next generation of pediatric mental health services research, which can address whether earlier recognition of and intervention for psychosocial problems in pediatrics will lead to cost-effective outcomes. (+info)
Challenges in securing access to care for children.
Congressional approval of Title XXI of the Social Security Act, which created the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), is a significant public effort to expand health insurance to children. Experience with the Medicaid program suggests that eligibility does not guarantee children's enrollment or their access to needed services. This paper develops an analytic framework and presents potential indicators to evaluate CHIP's performance and its impact on access, defined broadly to include access to health insurance and access to health services. It also presents options for moving beyond minimal monitoring to an evaluation strategy that would help to improve program outcomes. The policy considerations associated with such a strategy are also discussed. (+info)
Lot quality assurance sampling for monitoring immunization programmes: cost-efficient or quick and dirty?
In recent years Lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS), a method derived from production-line industry, has been advocated as an efficient means to evaluate the coverage rates achieved by child immunization programmes. This paper examines the assumptions on which LQAS is based and the effect that these assumptions have on its utility as a management tool. It shows that the attractively low sample sizes used in LQAS are achieved at the expense of specificity unless unrealistic assumptions are made about the distribution of coverage rates amongst the immunization programmes to which the method is applied. Although it is a very sensitive test and its negative predictive value is probably high in most settings, its specificity and positive predictive value are likely to be low. The implications of these strengths and weaknesses with regard to management decision-making are discussed. (+info)
Paediatric home care in Tower Hamlets: a working partnership with parents.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the first two years of a paediatric home care service. DESIGN: Observational cross sectional study, 1989-91. SETTING: One inner London health district. PATIENTS: 611 children referred to the service; 50 children selected from those referred during the first year, whose parents were interviewed and whose general practitioners were invited to complete a questionnaire. MAIN MEASURES: Description and costs of service; views of parents and general practitioners of selected sample of children. RESULTS: In its second year the team received 303 referrals and made 4004 visits at a salary cost of 98000 pounds, an average of 323 pounds/referral and 24 pounds/visit. This represented a referral rate of 3.2% (258/7939) of inpatient episodes from the main referring hospital between 1 December 1989 and 30 November 1990. Of all referrals to the service, 343(56%) came from hospital inpatient wards. The service was used by disadvantaged and ethnic minority families. The children's parents (in 28(61%) families) and the home care team did a wide range of nursing tasks in the home. Parents of 47(94%) children sampled agreed to be interviewed, and those of 43(91%) found the service useful; guidance and support were most commonly appreciated (33, 70%). Parents of 25(53%) children said that hospital stay or attendance had been reduced or avoided. Parents and general practitioners disagreed on clinical responsibility in 10 children, and communication was a problem for some general practitioners. CONCLUSIONS: The service enabled children to receive advanced nursing care at home. Clinical responsibility should be agreed between parents and professionals at referral. (+info)
Sending parents outpatient letters about their children: parents' and general practitioners' views.
Parents' cooperation is essential to ensuring implementation of effective healthcare management of children, and complete openness should exist between paediatricians and parents. One method of achieving this is to send parents a copy of the outpatient letter to the general practitioner (GP) after the child's outpatient consultation. To determine the views of parents and GPs a pilot survey was conducted in two general children's outpatient clinics in hospitals in Newcastle upon Tyne. In March and April 1991 a postal questionnaire was sent to 57 parents of children attending the clinics, and a similar questionnaire to their GPs to elicit, respectively, parents' understanding of the letter and perception of its helpfulness, and GPs' views on the value of sending the letters to parents. Completed questionnaires were received from 34(60%) parents and 47(82%) GPs; 26(45%) respondents were matched pairs. 27(79%) parents said they understood all of the letter, 19(56%) that it helped their understanding, 32(94%) felt it was a good idea, and 31(91%) made positive comments. In all, 29(61%) GPs favoured the idea and six (13%) did not. Eleven (23%) said they would be concerned if this became routine practice, and 20(74%) of the 27 providing comments were doubtful or negative; several considered that they should communicate information to parents. The views in the matched pairs were dissimilar: parents were universally in favour whereas many GPs had reservations. The authors concluded that sending the letters improved parents' satisfaction with communication, and they recommend that paediatricians consider adopting this practice. (+info)