Background: There are few specialist weight management services for children and young people in the UK (APPGO, 2018). Retention in such paediatric services can be difficult (Jelalian et al., 2008), and minimising attrition is critical for achieving good outcomes with this group (Hampl et al., 2011). Families can be reluctant to engage due to practical constraints, a lack of personalised care (Hampl et al., 2014) and the perception that services can exacerbate stigma and shame (Falconer et al., 2014).
Methods: Connect in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is the first specialist (level 3) service for young people in Wales. It opened to families in May 2019 using principles of coproduction and individualised, family-centred care. Focus groups and telephone consultations were initially conducted to inform service development and 17 families contributed to this process.
Results: Feedback emphasised the need for a non-stigmatising service name which was not obviously associated with obesity. Easy access was considered important, so Connect offers multiple venues and home visits. Families were keen to work with different professionals depending on need, therefore the multidisciplinary nature of the Connect team is a significant person-centred strength. Further efforts have facilitated engagement, including explanatory telephone calls prior to assessment, sending out a leaflet with team photos, and addressing letters directly to the family. Connect has also adopted the Care Aims approach (Malcomess, 2015); a framework for service improvement based on the principle of doing most good and least harm, within the resources available. Active triage ensures Connect is the most appropriate service at a given time, and clear goals are based on what is meaningful for the young person. Empowering families is key, therefore discharge is timely, however the service is easily accessible again if needed in future. Care Aims also encourages up-skilling other networks in order to influence the care of as many families as possible within a small team remit.
Conclusion: Connect is the first level 3 weight management service for children in Wales and has been coproduced by specialist health professionals and the families it aims to support.
Keywords: Care aims, children, family-centred, coproduction
12 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019