‘Empowering clinicians in smaller sites’: A qualitative study of clinician’s experiences with a rural Virtual Paediatric Feeding Clinic

Aust J Rural Health. 2021 Sep 7. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12781. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To explore the experiences of ‘spoke site’ allied health and child and family health clinicians in the provision of care through a pilot ‘hub and spoke’ model Virtual Paediatric Feeding Clinic (VPFC) outreach service.

DESIGN: The study was qualitative, with data from virtual interview transcripts analysed using thematic analysis.

SETTING: Orange Health Service (‘hub site’) and seven community health centres within the Western NSW Local Health District (‘spoke sites’).

PARTICIPANTS: Nine ‘spoke site’ clinicians (from dietetics, speech pathology, occupational therapy and child and family health nursing), who had participated in the pilot clinic.

INTERVENTIONS: Participants took part in a semi-structured interview with a member of the research team.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Spoke site clinicians experiences and perceptions of the VPFC.

RESULTS: Four key themes emerged: (1) impact of the VPFC on ‘spoke site’ clinicians, (2) benefits for clients and families, (3) perceptions of the virtual model of care and (4) VPFC service challenges.

CONCLUSION: The expansion of an existing interdisciplinary Paediatric Feeding Clinic into a virtual service demonstrates the use of technology to bridge a gap in healthcare. Clinicians reported benefits not only for families, but for their own knowledge and confidence in provision of care and reduced professional isolation through connection with discipline-specific colleagues.

PMID:34490941 | DOI:10.1111/ajr.12781

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