The first aim was to identify the types of healthcare services used by children, adolescents, and adults with anorectal malformation (ARM) in relation to the severity of their disease and to examine whether additional care was needed. The second aim was to evaluate specific areas in the healthcare system, including provided information, transfer from pediatric to adult care, and satisfaction with the provided care.
Three hundred eighty-six (61%) patients with ARM, ages 6 to 52, completed a questionnaire that assessed their use of healthcare services and the need for additional services. Also, questions were asked about specific areas in the healthcare system. Clinical and sociodemographic characteristics were extracted from medical records.
In the preceding 6 months 50% of the children, 24% of the adolescents, and 24% of the adults consulted a medical specialist. Compared with patients with a mild form of ARM in the age range of 6 to 16 years, the more severely afflicted patients visited medical professionals more often (18% vs. 32%). Particularly, adolescents in the age range of 12 to 16 years with a severe form of the disease more often visited the pediatric surgeon than their peers with a mild form (2% vs. 16%). Twenty-three percent of the children, 7% of the adolescents, and 8% of the adults consulted a nonmedical professional. Twenty percent of the children, 13% of the adolescents, and 17% of the adults would have liked additional or more treatment of a nonmedical professional. In 6 months, 40% of the children, 24% of the adolescents, and 20% of the adults received treatment information. One third of the adult patients who were transferred to "adult" surgeons encountered transfer problems. Almost all patients were satisfied with the care provided.
There is good access to medical healthcare services, especially for children. However, more psychosocial and paramedical care is considered necessary. As could be expected, children and adolescents with a severe form of the disease reported to have visited a medical specialist more often. Although healthcare for patients with ARM may be improved at certain points, most parents and patients were very satisfied with the care provided.
Download Full PDF Version (Non-Commercial Use)