With ever increasing recognition and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children within mainstream schooling, there was a need for City and Hackney Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to develop innovative interventions to meet the needs of a large client group, with limited clinician resource. The importance of psychoeducation about ASD for parents of children recently diagnosed is understood; however, feedback from our service users highlighted the additional need for ongoing access to a network of professional support. Using quality improvement (QI) methodology, we aimed to develop a sustainable regular group programme that was relevant for parents. The total number of parents attending each monthly group over a specific period of time was tracked (from February 2015 to May 2017). A service user questionnaire was devised to gain feedback from each group on parental confidence in managing a child with ASD and their satisfaction. These were given to parents at the end of each group. The Plan Do Study Act cycles were applied and evaluated in the QI framework to assess the impact of the following change ideas: letter reminders, a focus group, an email information and reminder system, and a parent co-lead group. Overall, attendance at the monthly groups increased and remained stable. Satisfaction with the groups was high (eg, 91% of the attendees were either ‘Quite Satisfied’ or ‘Extremely Satisfied’). Of those attending, 82% reported increases in their own confidence in managing their child with ASD. The QI approach allowed us to systematically develop efficient systems and cost-effective ways to run interventions within our ASD pathway. Parents reported high levels of satisfaction with the groups and increased confidence in their ability to parent their child with ASD.
- quality improvement
- autism spectrum disorder
- children and adolescent mental health
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Contributors The quality improvement project was planned and executed by LAR, a clinical psychologist. She wrote the report and the findings. JRP was involved in the discussions about the study design and edited the reporting of the work. LM supported data analysis and formatted the report and references. LAR is responsible for the accuracy of the overall content.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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