The specialist sleep practitioners (SSPs) offer therapy for chronic insomnia in children with co-morbid chronic conditions, or neurodevelopmental disorders and for circadian rhythm disorders. Increased volume of referrals to our tertiary paediatric sleep service (>500/yr) resulted in long wait times (> 8months) for therapeutic support after initial assessment.
During the intervening time, patient history had often changed. This resulted in a longer initial appointment with SSP’s to obtain further information.
A structured clinic format was piloted with the aim of reducing these waiting times and provide more timely intervention.
Working practice was re-designed, with the aim of developing a more streamlined approach to caseload management. Individual SSP clinics were introduced offering an initial video appointment and two telephone reviews. The aim of this was to empower families to set their own goals and agree on the appropriate sleep management plan to address their child’s chronic insomnia. Data from before and after the pilot scheme was analysed to compare the effectiveness of these changes on wait list times for SSP support.
During the pilot scheme, we were able to reduce the wait for an initial SSP appointment from >8 months to under 6 weeks. This in turn, resulted in the information provided in the initial sleep assessment remaining largely unchanged, allowing SSP’s to provide appropriate timely support for families in addressing their child’s chronic insomnia.
The new model has been successfully adopted across the specialist sleep practitioner team, enabling families to receive more timely support.
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