These analyses were undertaken to investigate the number and types of services and assistance believed to be useful to children with a chronic health condition and their families. The perspective of mothers, fathers, and primary care physicians were sought separately and compared.
Families that include at least 1 child with a chronic health condition were selected from pediatric practices in Central Massachusetts. All 3 respondents completed a questionnaire describing their own perspective of current needs and of the severity of the child's condition. The 3 perspectives are compared statistically and areas of agreement/disagreement are described.
Mothers, fathers, and physicians described children's and families' needs with a surprising degree of concordance. On the other hand, pediatricians identified fewer needs, despite rating the severity of children's illnesses as greater than did parents. Mothers and fathers agreed substantially about the level of severity of their child's condition and about their unmet needs.
It is important that pediatric practice systems include effective mechanisms to assess parents' opinions regarding the unmet needs of their child/family in the face of a child with a chronic health condition. Without input from families, pediatricians are aware of only some of the needs that parents identify. Pediatrics 2000;105:277–285;children, chronic health condition.