A case study of well child care visits at general practices in a region of disadvantage in Sydney

Pankaj Garg*, John Eastwood, Siaw Teng Liaw, Bin Jalaludin, Rebekah Grace

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
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    Introduction: Well-Child Care (WCC) is the provision of preventive health care services for children and their families. Prior research has highlighted that several barriers exist for the provision of WCC services.

    Objectives: To study "real life" visits of parents and children with health professionals in order to enhance the theoretical understanding of factors affecting WCC.

    Methods: Participant observations of a cross-sectional sample of 71 visits at three general practices were analysed using a mixed-methods approach.

    Results: The median age of the children was 18 months (IQR, 6-36 months), and the duration of visits was 13 mins (IQR, 9-18 mins). The reasons for the visits were immunisation in 13 (18.5%), general check-up in 10 (13.8%), viral illness in 33 (49.2%) and miscellaneous reasons in 15 (18.5%). Two clusters with low and high WCC emerged; WCC was associated with higher GP patient-centeredness scores, younger age of the child, fewer previous visits, immunisation and general check-up visits, and the solo general practitioner setting. Mothers born overseas received less WCC advice, while longer duration of visit increased WCC. GPs often made observations on physical growth and development and negotiated mothers concerns to provide reassurance to them. The working style of the GP which encouraged informal conversations with the parents enhanced WCC. There was a lack of systematic use of developmental screening measures.

    Conclusions: GPs and practice nurses are providing parent/child centered WCC in many visits, particularly when parents present for immunisation and general check-ups. Providing funding and practice nurse support to GPs, and aligning WCC activities with all immunisation visits, rather than just a one-off screening approach, appears to be the best way forward. A cluster randomised trial for doing structured WCC activities with immunisation visits would provide further evidence for cost-effectiveness studies to inform policy change.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0205235
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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