Pass the parcel: Service provider views on bridging gaps for youth with dual diagnosis of intellectual disability and mental health disorders in regional areas

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Journal Article
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2019, 55 (6), pp. 666 - 672
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Son, Debono et al Pass the Parcel 2018.pdfPublished Version188.56 kB
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© 2018 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians) Aim: Youth with both intellectual disability (ID) and mental health (MH) disorders (dual diagnosis) have complex physical and MH needs that can make providing integrated care for this complex group challenging. We conducted a mixed methods needs assessment to identify gaps and challenges in care delivery, identify bridges for these and identify what works well in existing services. Methods: Our research team recruited service providers (n = 126) caring for youth aged 14–24 years with a dual diagnosis in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region of New South Wales, Australia, to participate in focus group interviews. Data were transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: We identified six themes related to caring for youth with dual diagnosis in regional areas: access to services and information about services, communication between service providers and with clients and carers, the divide between MH and ID, early intervention and health promotion, capacity building of service providers and capacity building of clients and carers. Across these themes, service providers highlighted the transition from child to adult services as a particularly challenging time for clients, families and carers. Conclusions: Our data suggest several approaches to break down silos and to facilitate collaboration between current services for youth with a dual diagnosis, including increasing specialised ID/MH services and building the capacity of current disability and MH service providers. Our results provide important information to provide quality and integrated care for youth with complex health needs.
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