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Article
Development of a brief questionnaire to identify families in need of legal advocacy to improve child health
Family Medicine and Community Health Publications and Presentations
  • David Keller, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Nathan Jones, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Judith A. Savageau, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Suzanne B. Cashman, University of Massachusetts Medical School
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Pediatrics; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Date
7-23-2008
Document Type
Article
Subjects
Adult; Child Advocacy; Child Welfare; Child, Preschool; Humans; Massachusetts; *Needs Assessment; Patient Acceptance of Health Care; Predictive Value of Tests; Primary Health Care; *Questionnaires; Referral and Consultation
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the medical-legal advocacy screening questionnaire (MASQ), a simple 10-item questionnaire, is able to screen families in a primary care setting for possible referral to legal services more effectively than the clinical interview alone.

METHODS: Family Advocates of Central Massachusetts (FACM) is a medical-legal collaboration that assists low-income families with legal issues that affect child health. A convenience sample of parents seen at each of 5 medical practices associated with FACM was recruited to complete the MASQ prior to a routine child health care visit. Physicians blinded to the result assessed family need for referral to FACM after their usual clinical encounter. The sensitivity and specificity of both the MASQ and provider assessment were calculated.

RESULTS: Two hundred fifty-five parents from 5 practices participated in the study. The MASQ identified 85 patients in need of legal services. Prior to reviewing the MASQ, the primary care providers identified 35 families in need of referral to the FACM. After completion of both the MASQ and the medical encounter, 37 families agreed to referral. The MASQ had sensitivity of 0.81 and specificity of 0.75 in predicting program referral. Provider assessment had sensitivity of 0.65 and specificity of 0.95 of predicting program referral.

CONCLUSIONS: Routine use of the MASQ would likely identify more patients in pediatric practices who would accept referral to legal assistance than reliance on provider impression alone after a routine clinical encounter.

Rights and Permissions
Citation: Ambul Pediatr. 2008 Jul-Aug;8(4):266-9. Epub 2008 May 27. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
18644550
Citation Information
David Keller, Nathan Jones, Judith A. Savageau and Suzanne B. Cashman. "Development of a brief questionnaire to identify families in need of legal advocacy to improve child health" Vol. 8 Iss. 4 (2008) ISSN: 1539-4409 (Electronic)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_keller1/1/