Integrative treatment approaches: family satisfaction with a multidisciplinary paediatric Abdominal Pain Clinic

Int J Integr Care. 2010 Aug 2:10:e51. doi: 10.5334/ijic.551.


Objectives: To assess patient and family satisfaction with evaluation received through a multidisciplinary paediatric Abdominal Pain Clinic (APC) staffed by a paediatric gastroenterologist and a paediatric psychologist as compared to a traditional gastroenterology clinic (GI) staffed by a paediatric gastroenterologist only.

Methods: Two hundred and ninety-eight families (145 APC, 153 GI) with a child or adolescent aged 8-17 years seen for initial evaluation of a chronic abdominal pain completed an anonymous survey to assess understanding of the treatment recommendations made, intent to follow through with various treatment recommendations, and the overall level of satisfaction with the evaluation service provided. Family perceptions of strengths and challenges of the APC evaluation process also were explored.

Results: APC families reported being prescribed adjunctive mental health and other therapies at significantly higher rates than GI families, while the rates of medication were comparable. APC families also reported significantly greater receptivity to beginning the treatments prescribed and higher levels of overall satisfaction with the evaluation process. The contribution of integrated medical and psychological perspectives frequently was identified as a strength of the APC evaluation process. Challenges identified for the APC evaluation were few and focused on issues related to paperwork and scheduling issues.

Conclusions: Integrative care approaches to the evaluation of paediatric abdominal pain appear well accepted by families, yielding high levels of satisfaction, and enhance receptivity to treatment recommendations. Integrative care starting at the time of first evaluation may be particularly well-tailored to enhance outcomes, reduce health care utilization, and yield financial savings within this population.

Keywords: abdominal pain; functional gastrointestinal disorders; paediatrics; parents; practice.