Parent and provider partnerships hold promise for improving adolescent health
Forming partnerships between health care professionals, adolescents, and their families holds promise for improving adolescent health. How to form these sometimes complex partnerships was explored in a pilot study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It revealed the perspectives of parents who, in telephone interviews and focus groups, were asked how parents and providers can work together to keep teens healthy. The researchers recruited a diverse sample of 17 parents with adolescent children (aged 11-18 years) from 8 clinical sites; all were covered by health insurance.
When asked what they could do to keep their teens healthy, most parents said that keeping them busy and monitoring their friends and activities were important. They also cited the value of open communication and the ability to seek help from a health care professional when needed. On the provider side, parents felt it was important that teens could openly communicate with clinicians. Providers may be able to discover health issues that parents might not know about.
Communication was also the key when parents were asked about how they can work together with providers. They suggested that health care professionals should initiate open conversation with parents while at the same time respecting the teen's confidentiality. Parents also thought public health forums or information technology could be used to effectively disseminate general adolescent health information. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16021).
See "Parents and health care professionals working together to improve adolescent health: The perspectives of parents," by Carol A. Ford, M.D., Amy F. Davenport, M.P.H., Andrea Meier, Ph.D., and Annie-Laurie McRee, M.P.H., in the 2009 Journal of Adolescent Health 44, pp. 191-194.
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