Social Pediatrics focuses on targeting and mitigating the effects of the social determinants of health on a child’s well-being and development. Negative health outcomes have been seen in children who have faced poverty, food insecurity, inadequate housing, and traumatic events. Social Pediatrics takes a collaborative and community-level approach in addressing the needs of children and families in an individual, family, and societal context. New Brunswick has been highlighted as a leader in the area of Social Pediatrics and implementing an Integrated Service Delivery framework to help children and youth with complex care needs. In 2017, the Government of New Brunswick launched its Family Plan to improve timely access to appropriate services and collaboration across care pathways.
The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of caregivers for children with a behaviour-related disorder. This includes children affected by attention, academic, and social issues (e.g. ADHD, ASD) within the health care system. This study will aim to understand the strengths and barriers to accessing and receiving care for children with behavioural disorders.
A qualitative descriptive design was used to explore the experiences of this population. A total of 64 caregivers responsible for a child who received care from a pediatrician in a medium-sized city in New Brunswick were contacted. A total of 13 participants agreed to participate in one of three focus groups. All focus groups were analyzed using the six phases of inductive thematic analysis.
Preliminary findings suggest that caregivers value pediatricians who spend time, communicate, and make a human connection with their patients. Barriers included physician turnover, long wait times for referrals, and a lack of knowledge regarding services and programs available in their area. It was recommended that an advocate or navigator could improve access and care coordination. This study is important as it contributes to our knowledge on the role Social Pediatrics can play in the care of children with complex care needs.