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Qualitative Study of Foster Caregivers' Views on Adherence to Pediatric Appointments.

  • Schneiderman, Janet U
  • Kennedy, Andrea K
  • Sayegh, Caitlin S
Published Article
Journal of pediatric health care : official publication of National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates & Practitioners
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
DOI: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2016.05.001
PMID: 27291938


The current study is a qualitative investigation of how foster caregivers, primarily Latinos, view adherence to pediatric appointments. Our purpose was to identify how the child welfare system, pediatric clinics, and pediatric health providers serving foster children might promote appointment attendance. Participants in the study had a return appointment at an outpatient pediatric clinic that served only children in the child welfare system. Twenty-eight caregivers (13 related and 15 unrelated) participated in telephone interviews after the date of their scheduled pediatric appointment; 32% missed their return appointment. Semistructured interview guides included general questions about what promotes attending the pediatric appointment, what makes it difficult to attend the pediatric appointment, and how pediatric care affects the foster child. Analysis of qualitative data using content analysis identified three themes: (a) Multiple Methods to Attend Appointments, which included caregivers' organizational and problem-solving skills; (b) Positive Health Care Experiences, which consisted of caregivers' personal relationships with providers and staff members and clinic organization; and (c) Necessity of Pediatric Care, which included recognition of the need for health care, especially timely immunizations. All caregivers also reported that appointment reminders would be helpful. Unrelated caregivers said more often than related caregivers that appointment attendance was facilitated by clinic organization. Nonadherent caregivers more than attenders mentioned their need to solve problems to attend appointments or reschedule appointments. In summary, caregivers said they valued regular pediatric health care to treat their children's chronic conditions and prevent illnesses, but they acknowledged that their home lives were hectic and that attending scheduled appointments was sometimes difficult. Foster caregivers in this study identified the ideal pediatric clinic environment that encourages adherence to health care appointments. This environment is an organized clinic with easy access including parking, engaged pediatric health providers, ability to reschedule appointments when necessary, and an individualized and consistent appointment reminder system.

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