Objective To determine views and experiences of babies, children and young people relating to continuity of their healthcare.
Design Qualitative systematic review.
Setting Primary research from UK settings where NHS-commissioned or local authority-commissioned healthcare is provided. Systematic reviews from UK and non-UK high-income countries.
Population Babies, children and young people under 18 years old with experience of healthcare. Parental and/or carer perspectives only included if children are under 5 years old or unable to express their own view.
Interventions Not applicable.
Main outcome measures Thematic analysis of the benefits and facilitators to continuity of care for babies, children and young people.
Results 20 047 abstracts were screened; 186 full-text articles were reviewed; 11 papers fulfilled the review criteria. From these, four main themes and 14 subthemes were identified. The theme ‘individuals’ had four subthemes: ‘knowledge of healthcare system’, ‘support’, ‘personal lives’ and ‘results’. The theme ‘healthcare professionals’ had four subthemes: ‘interservice communication’, ‘collaboration with babies, children and young people’, ‘communications’ and ‘relationships with healthcare professionals’. The theme ‘practical’ had four subthemes: ‘colocation’, ‘appointment times’, ‘referrals’ and ‘waiting times’. The theme ‘technological’ had two subthemes: ‘ease of use’ and ‘complements current healthcare management’.
Conclusions Continuity of healthcare for babies, children and young people can enhance clinical outcomes but requires active facilitation by healthcare providers and services, especially in circumstances where individuals or their families are less able to advocate for themselves. A range of barriers and facilitators were identified together with recommendations for enhancing continuity of care.
PROSPERO registration number CRD42019145566.
- Child Health
- Adolescent Health
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Not applicable.
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Contributors The systematic review was designed by the National Guideline Alliance Technical Team (including AN, EG-V and AM). The search strategies were designed by AM, and the review was completed by AN. Quality appraisal was provided by EG-V. The manuscript was prepared by RC and AN, with assistance from RE and DH.
Funding This study was funded by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Disclaimer The guideline referred to in this article was produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of NICE.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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