Family-Centered Care Can Improve Outcomes in Children With ADHD

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Family-Centered Care Can Improve Outcomes in Children With ADHD
Family-Centered Care Can Improve Outcomes in Children With ADHD

(HealthDay News) — For children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), receiving more family-centered, compassionate care may be more effective than standard care, a new study has found. The findings were published online March 23 in Pediatrics.

Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH, of the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues followed 156 children in an urban setting for one year after they were referred for testing for ADHD. The children were randomly assigned to receive either standard collaborative care or "enhanced" care. For enhanced collaborative care, the care managers received several days of training to teach parents healthy parenting skills and interact with families in an open-minded, non-judgmental, empathetic way. The children in this study, ranging from age 6–12, had not been diagnosed with ADHD at the start of the study but were recommended for testing by their primary care doctors. Ultimately, 40% of them were found to have ADHD symptoms that would qualify for a diagnosis. After one year, the children as a whole showed improvements in hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, and social skills.

However, the researchers reported that significantly greater improvements in all these areas occurred among the children who had symptoms that would qualify for an ADHD diagnosis and received enhanced collaborative care – but not among those who received collaborative care but did not end up having symptoms that would qualify for an ADHD diagnosis.

Silverstein explained to HealthDay that three factors can interfere with a child's ability to receive successful treatment. These include: difficulty adhering to the therapy (for economic, family, or other reasons); a mother's mental health problems; and other conditions the child has, such as oppositional defiance disorder, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, or even post-traumatic stress disorder. The enhanced collaborative care approach tried to help with those factors, Silverstein said.

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