Background: In the new integrated program of care for childhood overweight and obesity (ICCO), a Youth Health Care (YHC) nurse has the role of a coordinating professional. After a broad assessment of strengths and weaknesses in the family setting, this coordinating professional makes a plan of action with the child and parents and involves other professionals when needed. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of parents and children with the coordinating professional in the ICCO.
Material & methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight families. Interview data were analyzed using content analysis. In addition, descriptive data on involved professionals and referrals was collected with an online questionnaire in 38 families.
Results: In total, eight families (8 mothers, 2 fathers, four boys and three girls aged 10-12 yrs) were interviewed and 38 children and parents filled in (three consecutive) online questionnaires.
Findings: The main themes related to the experiences of parents and children with the CP: parents and children felt supported and understood by the coordinating professional. They appreciated the broad perspective and personal approach. Contacts with the coordinating professional were not always frequent. Major points of improvement concerned the intensity of the follow-up and collaboration. Only few parents experienced collaboration between the coordinating professional and other professionals in the ICCO.
Conclusions: Parents and children appreciated the personal approach of the Youth Health Care nurse as a CP. The role of the coordinating professional, however, appears not fully implemented yet. Strengthening the promising role of the coordinating professional in the ICCO is recommended.
Keywords: children’s overweight; coordinating professional; experiences; integrated care; obesity; online questionnaire; parents; prevention; qualitative interviews.