The Danish preventive child health examination should expand on mental health and the well-being of the family.

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INTRODUCTION: In Denmark, around one in six children hassignificant somatic, psychological or social health problems,often in combination. The preventive child health examinationshave a high participation rate; and they produce significantfindings, predominantly concerning the child’sphysical health. The aim of this study was to explore howthe child’s physical, cognitive and psychosocial health areexamined and assessed at the health examinations of childrenaged 0-5 years in general practice.
METHODS: Our study employed observations of the consultationsas well as individual interviews. A total of ninedoctors from seven clinics participated. We included 21 casesin our study, each consisting of a consultation and subsequentinterviews with the child’s parents and with thedoctor.
RESULTS: The examination of the child’s physical health anddevelopment is an important feature of the health examination.Motor, cognitive, social skills and mental health areassessed globally through observation and communicationwith the child, and, to a lesser degree, through conversationwith the parents. The child health examination rarely has afamily perspective, unless the doctor is already aware ofproblems in the family.
CONCLUSION: The preventive child health examination is animportant platform for examination and dialogue concerninga child’s health. The physical aspect works well, butthere is a need for development of the assessment of thechild’s mental health and the well-being of the family.
FUNDING: Postdoctoral Fellowships in General Practice/Family Medicine – Denmark.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA5060
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

ID: 141093376