Purpose: Parents’ attendance, participation and engagement are thought to be critical components of children’s rehabilitation services; however, these elements of therapy are typically under-investigated. The purpose of this study was to develop a substantive theory of parents’ attendance, participation and engagement in children’s rehabilitation services.
Methods: A constructivist grounded theory study was conducted. Data collection included interviews with parents (n = 20) and clinicians (n = 4), policies regarding discharge, and child-health records. Data was analyzed using constant comparison, coding and memoing. To promote credibility, authors engaged in reflexivity, peer debriefing, member checking, triangulation and recorded an audit trail.
Results and conclusions: The Phoenix Theory of Attendance, Participation and Engagement was developed. This theory is described metaphorically as a journey to child health and happiness that has six components including: parent’s feelings, skills, knowledge, logistics, values and beliefs and parent’s relationship with the professional. The child, parent, service provider, and organizational factors that impact engagement are described. Service providers, policy makers, organizational leaders and researchers can use this information to promote engagement in children’s developmental rehabilitation services.