Accessibility, utilisation and acceptability of a county-based home care service for sick children in Sweden

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Background: Home care service (HCS) for sick children is a complex healthcare service, which can be organised in various models. Despite the possibility to support family everyday life, the accessibility and utilisation may still be limited. The aim of this study was to (i) determine characteristics in referrals to county-based HCS, (ii) determine characteristics of referred children and (iii) assess acceptability of parents and children in county-based HCS. Methods: Data on characteristics of referrals and referred children were collected from medical records of children 0–17 years of age, referred to eight HCS units during 2015–2018. Data on parental and child overall experience, satisfaction of, safety with, and preference for care, were collected from parents by a questionnaire. Descriptive and comparative statistics were used to analyse the data. Results: Three hundred and fifty-five referrals led to one or more periods of HCS for 171 children in various ages with a wide range of illnesses. Children with cancer (30%) composed the largest group and administration of intravenous antibiotics accounted for 56% of the care tasks. Seven per cent of the referrals were to palliative home care. Thirty-eight referrals of 34 children were refused. There was an uneven distribution of the indication for referral, acceptance rate and diagnoses of children among HCS units. Parents reported their and their child's experience with the HCS visit as highly positive and preferred home care to hospital care in over 96% of the HCS in 212 visits. Conclusion: County-based HCS constitutes a supplement to hospital care for sick children with various illnesses through different stages of acute and long-term illness and at end of life, with high levels of acceptability. Few referrals and variation in referral characteristics and acceptance rate of referrals between HCS units led to unequal and inequitable accessibility and utilisation of HCS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)824-832
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • home care service, paediatric, preference for care, referral, satisfaction with care, utilisation

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