Measuring parents' perspective on continuity of care in children with special health care needs.
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INTRODUCTION: Children with special health care needs are an exponentially growing population needing integrated health care programmes that involve primary, community, hospital and tertiary care services. The aims of the study are (1) to develop and validate the Special Needs Kids Questionnaire (SpeNK-Q) designed to measure parents' perspective on continuity of care for children with special health care needs and (2) to evaluate the continuity of care based on parental experiences in this population. METHODS: SpeNK-Q was derived from a previous qualitative study and was based on Haggerty's constructs of informational, management and relational continuity. Parents of preterm birth children completed the 20-item SpeNK-Q at the second or subsequent planned follow-up visit after the child's hospital discharge. Principal component analysis was used to examine the structure of the instrument. RESULTS: Principal component analysis of 101 questionnaires administered allowed us to identify five factors explaining 60.2% of item variance: informational continuity; coordination of care; continuity of family-paediatrician relationship; family support; information on care plan. CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSION: SpeNK-Q proved to be a psychometrically promising instrument. Its utilisation could improve the identification of areas for service development, the delivery of coordinated care and support policy makers in redesigning integrated services.
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