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Family-centred service coordination in childhood health and disability services: the search for meaningful service outcome measures

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Trute, B.; Hiebert-Murphy, D.; Wright, A.

BACKGROUND: Potential service outcome measures were tested for their utility in the assessment of the quality of ‘family centred’ service coordination in the provincial network of children’s disability services in Manitoba, Canada. METHODS: This study is based on in-home survey data provided by 103 mothers at 6 and 18 months following assignment of a ‘dedicated’ service coordinator. Service outcome indicators included measures of parent self-esteem, parenting stress, family functioning and the need for family support resources. RESULTS: Hierarchical regression analyses showed no relationship between level of quality of family-centred service coordination and standardized psychosocial measures of parent and family functioning. However, family centredness of service coordination was found to predict significant reduction in level of family need for psychosocial support resources after 18 months of contact with a service coordinator. CONCLUSIONS: Outcome measures that are focused on specific and tangible results of service coordination appear to be of higher utility in service quality assessment than are more global, standardized measures of parent and family functioning.

Research abstracts