"We care for the most medically fragile children," says Dr. Audrey Lim of the Pediatric Complex Care Team. "The population we serve has different needs from most other children. Our patients are medically fragile and are often technology dependent—meaning they require some form of technology, such as airway support or a feeding tube, to help them survive and function."
A group of four pediatricians, two respiratory therapists, a clinical nurse specialist, and a nurse practitioner form the core group that is the Pediatrica Complex Care Team. They provide support for close to 70 patients, each one with unique and varied medical conditions.
"We want our patients to be stable and healthy in their own homes, and our education program and close follow-up with parents help make this possible," says Lim. "Before patients are discharged home, parents, caregivers, and homecare nurses are completely trained on how to care for their children." Classroom, bedside teaching, and simulation training helps caregivers learn how to safely care for patients who have tracheostomies, use home mechanical ventilation and other respiratory equipment.
"Our population is growing," says Lim, "because better technology and improvements in health care mean that these children with medical fragiity and complexity are surviving longer, and one of our goals is to optimize their care and overall health."
Members of McMaster's Pediatric Complex Care Team are also working with a group of pediatrics across the country to establish a Complex Care Special Interest Group within the Canadian Pediatric Society. The group will help further develop the complex care strategy in Canada, and set standards to provide the best care possible for these children with medical complexity.
New Complex Care Clinic at Niagara Children's Centre
In the fall of 2015, the McMaster team implemented a Complex Care Clinic at Niagara's Children's Centre - the first integrated tertiary-community complex care clinic in the region. This new clinic delivers care closer to home and minimizes the burden of travel for children and their families. This monthly clinic provides comprehensive, coordinated, family-centred care to children with medical complexity and technology dependency who are currently followed at McMaster Children's Hospital.
In June 2016, the team officially celebrated the launch of the new clinic and invited patients, family and local media to join the celebrations.
Watch the video: McMaster Children's Hospital opens up Clinic in Niagara (CHCH News)
Read the article: Niagara clinic for kids with complex health needs (Niagara Advance)
Visit McMaster Children's Hospital's website for more details about the Complex Care Clinic.