February 8, 2012
Our physical therapist, Caitlin McSpadden, recently had an article published in the Pediatric Physical Therapy Journal. The focus of the article was the importance of care coordination among healthcare professionals who work with special needs and medically fragile children.
Parents of medically fragile children or those with special needs deserve providers who understand the importance of care coordination and are willing to do their part to relieve some of the pressure on the family.
The following information should be helpful to families in choosing healthcare professionals who are committed to care coordination and in asking for their support if it is not forthcoming.
- During one of the first visits, providers should ask families about other health, education, and social services providers they are currently accessing for their child. Providers should ask for names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of other providers and have parents/guardians sign a release of information to avoid HIPAA, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or other confidentiality violations.
- Healthcare professionals should communicate frequently with other professionals involved in the child’s care.
- Providers should be aware of community programs and services that may benefit children and their families and help connect them to those programs.
- Medical providers should help parents/guardians and other nonmedical care team members interpret medical information.
- If discharging a child from services, provider should contact other professionals involved in the child’s care to discuss discharge plans and recommendations.
- Healthcare professionals should advocate for care coordination by talking with families, coworkers, and employers about needed care coordination activities and their benefits.
- Providers (and families) should contact local, state, and national representatives to provide input on upcoming health care legislation to support the need for care coordination.