The role of care coordinator for children with complex care needs: a systematic review.
Larkin, Philip J.
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Introduction: This systematic review seeks to identify the intended components of the role of care coordinator for children with complex care needs and the factors that determine its composition in practice. Theory and methods: The initial search identified 1,157 articles, of which 37 met the inclusion criteria. They were quality assessed using the SIGN hierarchy of evidence structure. Results: Core components of the role include: coordination of care needs, planning and assessment, specialist support, emotional support, administration and logistics and continuing professional development. Influencing factors on the role include the external environment (political and socio-economic), the internal environment (organisational structure and funding protocols), the skills, qualifications and experience of the coordinator, the family circumstances and the nature of the interaction between the care coordinator and the family. Discussion: The lack of consistent terminology creates challenges and there is a need for greater consensus on this issue. Organisations and healthcare professionals need to recognise the extent to which contextual factors influence the role of a care coordinator in practice and plan accordingly. Despite evidence that suggests that the role is pivotal in ensuring that care needs are sustained, there remains great variability in the understanding of the role of a care coordinator for this population. Conclusions: As the provision of care increasingly moves closer to home there is a need for greater understanding of the nature and composition of the interaction between care coordinators and families to determine the extent to which appropriate services are being provided. Further work in this area should take into consideration any potential variance in service provision, for example any potential inequity arising due to geographic location. It is also imperative, where appropriate, to seek the views of children with complex care needs and their siblings about their experiences.
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