Somatic and mental symptoms, medical treatments and service use in aftercare - Document analysis of Finnish care leavers
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CitationToivonen, Katri. Salokekkilä, Pirkko. Puustelli, Anne. Häggman-Laitila, Arja. (2020). Somatic and mental symptoms, medical treatments and service use in aftercare - Document analysis of Finnish care leavers. Children and youth services review, 114, 105079. 10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105079.
Children and young people placed in out-of-home care suffer from multiple problems more often than their peers, and the likelihood of their marginalization is significantly higher. Although aftercare services try to provide comprehensive support to care leavers, less attention has been paid to care leavers’ health symptoms in aftercare.
To use documents to retrospectively describe the somatic and mental symptoms, medical treatments and health service use of care leavers.
Participants and Setting
The data comprised three electronic records of 600 Finnish care leavers.
Data were collected from original free-text documents with a structured electronic worksheet and were analyzed using descriptive statistical methods.
According to the documents one third of care leavers had somatic disease and more than third experienced mental symptoms. More than every tenth had several concurrent somatic diseases and more than every fifth several concurrent mental symptoms. Under half were taking regular medication. Women were significantly more likely than men to have diseases or symptoms. They also used significantly more medicines and health services. The morbidity rates of young people not placed in out-of-home care were similar to those who had experienced a number of placements.
Care leavers with mental disorders, substance abuse issues and sexually transmitted diseases were clearly not reached by the services. Aftercare services should pay more attention to the assessment of service needs and encouraging service use in issues related to health as well as improve the effectiveness of multi-professional collaboration.