The purpose of this study is to create a valid and reliable measure of continuity of care in children's mental health services.
Early on in the project, members of the research team conducted interviews with parents, adolescents, and service providers in Ontario. Using information from these interviews, as well as previously developed measures of continuity of care for adult mental health and chronic child medical problems, we created a draft of our Continuity of Care questionnaire that focuses on children's mental health. We then piloted the questionnaire with a small group of parents and youth in the community.
In Spring 2011, working with seven children's mental health agencies, we began recruiting parents and teens (age 14 to 18) to complete the finalized questionnaire. In early 2012, we added another six agencies to the study; we now have 13 children's mental health agencies involved in this research project. These agencies are helping with participant recruitment, and their clinicians are assisting by completing a measure of their clients' continuity of care, from their perspective, for each participant in the study.
As of October 2012, we have completed data collection for the study. In total, 364 parents/guardians and 53 youth have completed the Continuity of Care questionnaire, and we are very grateful for their help! We have begun analyzing the data. We are examining how families in Ontario experience continuity of care, and how that relates to other factors, such as barriers to accessing care, length of time in treatment, parental stress, and satisfaction with services.
When we finalize our analyses, we will work on sharing the results and their implications with stakeholders.