Collaboration between healthcare professionals and parents: identification of supporting strategies

Inge Klatte, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Netherlands (
Annemieke de Groot, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Netherlands (
Rob Zwitserlood, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Netherlands (
Ellen Gerrits, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Netherlands (

Background: Collaboration between parents and speech and language therapists is seen as a key element in therapy for children with developmental language disorder (DLD). However, speech and language therapists and parents experience difficulties in achieving an effective collaboration in therapy. To inform practice, we want to make explicit how collaboration with parents could be optimised. In order to learn from other health disciplines, our study focused on health care professionals working with parents of children with developmental disorders.

Aim: To identify strategies and behaviours that can be used by healthcare professionals (HCPs) to optimize their collaboration with parents of children with a developmental disorder between 2-6 years of age.

Method: We performed a systematic literature search including qualitative and quantitative studies. The outcomes of the search were analysed using a framework evidence synthesis using two relevant models of collaboration between parents and health care professionals. Specific behaviours that potentially positively influence collaboration were identified.

Results: The literature search yielded 22 papers. In total 45 behaviours were identified that may increase mutual understanding, parental empowerment, relationship between parents and HCPs, and influence shared decision making, shared planning, shared implementation and shared evaluation.

Conclusions: This study made explicit how collaboration could be optimised by specific behaviours of the HCP. The next steps are to evaluate the effectiveness of these behaviours and the implementation of effective behaviours in practice.

Implications for children: Your parents find it very important to help you in the best way they can. This study supports health care professionals to support your parents helping you.

Implications for families: As a parent, you feel responsible to help your child in the best way you can. This study helps health care professionals to support you therein.

Implications for practitioners: When working with children with Developmental Language Disorder, parents are very important partners. Setting up this partnership and working collaboratively with parents, can be challenging. This study makes explicit what behaviours/strategies might be helpful to optimize this collaboration.

Funding: This project is funded by SIA RAAK-mkb (RAAK.MKB10.023)

Key words: families’ voices, professionals’ voices, health, review, collaboration

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: