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Table 3 Caregivers’ ideas for improving opioid use treatments for young people by needs themes

From: Becoming our young people’s case managers: caregivers’ experiences, needs, and ideas for improving opioid use treatments for young people using opioids

Caregiver Needs Themes a N b Ideas Themes c Representative Individual Idea d
Main Need Theme: Expand organizational and systems-level capacity
1. More timely access to care 62 • Increase availability of beds for detox, treatment, and stabilization (n = 21) “More beds available in stabilization and treatment”
• Centralized information about service options, requirements, and current wait times (n = 12) “Create a service map showing all the resources and supports available to youth using opioids”
• Instant access to peer-based services (n = 7) “Instant access to peers at hospitals”
• Flexible service delivery hours (n = 7) “Change service hours. 9:00 am is quiet so instead of 9-4, change to 11 am-7 pm”
• Instant access to navigators (n = 5) “A person that can help parents navigate all the systems, point them in the right direction, give contacts”
• Assign addictions teams at critical events (e.g., first hospitalization, overdose, arrest, etc.) (n = 4) “Every kid should have a care team. If they overodose, or you have police come to your house, you get this team of people assigned”
• E-health interventions (n = 3) “An app for kids to communicate with professionals discreetly”
• Drop-in and on-call services (n = 3) “On-call youth and family advocates”
2. Flexible and comprehensive care 73 • Peer connections across the journey (n = 17) “Peer mentoring programs for youth with substance use disorders”
• Family involvement in treatment plans (n = 13) “Service providers to revisit with youth on a continuous basis how they would like family involved”
• Provide services that reflect youths’ developmental needs (n = 10) “Expand concept of treatment plan to nature, outings, art, etc. where appropriate”
• Create inclusive and comfortable environments (n = 10) “Comfortable environments, ambient lighting, calming images, snacks, fidgets”
• Integrated services for mental health, substance use, and life skills training in substance use treatment (n = 9) “Build in vocational training programs that are flexible”
• Co-create treatment plans with youth and update them frequently (n = 7) “Goals based on youth and frequently updated as stage changes”
• Increase harm reduction programs for youth (n = 7) “Drug checking services”
3. Continuous and cohesive care 75 • Maintain consistent service providers for youth throughout their journey (n = 43) “Attach a consistent case manager or advocate to link services and follow-up”
• Create smoother transitions between treatment types (n = 15) “Treatment centres next door to detox centres”
• Provide services based on developmental needs, not age (n = 10) “Criteria for services based on need, not age (e.g., hierarchy of needs)”
• Set up ‘one-stop shop’ for youth (n = 5) “Multiple appointments ongoing in same space to work towards collective plan of action”
• Clearer lines of collaboration and communication between supports (n = 2) “Clear lines of communication between all parties of support, including service providers (emergency, social services, etc.), youth, and families”
4. Service provider competency 12 • Training in active listening, non-judgment, cultural safety (n = 9) “Service providers who hold space with someone”
• Training in how to involve families (n = 1) “Training for service providers in how to involve families in treatment plans”
• First responder education in youth and opioid use (n = 1) “Develop education around youth and opioid problems and unsafe for first responders”
• Support for service providers (n = 1) “Better pay and support for service providers”
Main Need Theme: Wider-spread understanding of opioid use as a health issue
1. Caregivers’ knowledge and tools 107 • Programs that connect parents with others with similar experiences (n = 45) “Create a network of parents of youth using opioids to share information and resources with each other”
• A handbook or guide of community resources (n = 26) “Parent manual or courses on how to raise a teen with a substance use disorder”
• Resources or courses that prepare parents and families for what to expect and next steps (n = 14) “On first overdose, resources that tell me what the next steps are and what to expect”
• Websites for parents with resources and information (n = 11) “Website that has all of the services, their requirements and is updated often”
• Wider- spread information and resources (n = 8) “Distribute info through family doctors and youth clinics”
• Teams that help caregivers with service navigation (n = 3) “Parent navigator or advocate at each substance use service”
2. School curriculum and policies 44 • Integrate mental health and substance use liaisons in each school (n = 16) “Mental health professionals on-site or on-call at schools”
• Peer-based mental health and substance use programs in schools for students and staff (n = 11) “Develop peer-based substance use education programs in academic and school environments”
• Increase mental health and substance use training for school professionals (n = 10) “Empathy training for all adults in education system that is specific to mental health and substance use”
• Integrate curriculum on mental health and substance use (n = 7) “Bi-annual curriculum specific to mental health and substance use”
43. Public acceptance 5 • Tackle stigma in the community (n = 3) “Make it okay for people to say ‘I’m not okay’”
• Public awareness campaigns (n = 2) “Make a big campaign spreading information and spreading empathy”
  1. aNeeds correspond to the sub-themes presented in Fig. 1, which were used to guide sorting of individual ideas from across all three workshops
  2. bNumber of individual ideas coded at each sub-theme
  3. cIdeas were brainstormed by individual participants in the workshops and were documented on flip charts. Data shown reflect the semantic ideas themes, which represent clusters of individual ideas that were similar across participants and workshops. Data in the brackets represent the number of individual ideas that were collated into the idea theme, thus a higher number represents a higher number of individual ideas coded in the respective ideas theme
  4. dData shown are representative examples of individual ideas that were coded within the semantic ideas themes