Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

New Hope toward Improving Healthcare

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

New Hope toward Improving Healthcare

Article excerpt

In this issue we are introducing three special reports that promise to have a great impact on the dialogue about healthcare practices for children with disabilities.

"Parents as Partners in the Medical Home: Helping children with special healthcare needs," focuses on the Medical Home research project. Finding appropriate healthcare for children with complex special needs is a continuous, ever-growing problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics, with the support of the Maternal Child Heath Bureau, developed the concept of the Medical Home--ideal characteristics that community pediatric practices need in order to meet the special challenges of these children. The Bureau gathered parent perspectives to establish a set of criteria for the Medical Home. The article's authors, Karen Burstein, PhD, and Tanis Bryan, PhD, are the co-principal investigators of the project team that was gathered to analyze the features of the Medical Home concept by examining Phoenix Pediatrics, Ltd., a practice that has adopted the concept. EP has long recognized the commitment and ability of the Phoenix group, headed by Dr. David Hirsch, in serving especially vulnerable children having described how Phoenix Pediatrics functions in detail in a three-part series that appeared from February to April 1998.

Drs. Burstein and Bryan describe what the "Medical Home" entails and the creative research process they used in involving parents in their investigation process. Starting this month and continuing in subsequent issues, they will outline the findings of the Project Team characteristics of the pediatric and community setting which best meet the needs of children and families.

Recent years have seen a rise in attention deficit disorder/attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) diagnoses. At the same time, treatment methods for the disorder have come under heavy scrutiny. The media have been reporting consistently on the disturbing increase in the number of preschool children with this diagnosis. In "A Closer Look at ADD/ADHD," Vidya B. Gupta, MD, MPH, presents a description of the diagnosis and its attendant problems. In upcoming issues, we will examine the various treatments that exist and the latest research on their efficacy. This fall, EP will publish Dr. Gupta's book on ADD/ADHD, No Apologies for Ritalin.

Early medical intervention can be a key to success in the development and promotion of better health in children with special needs. States mandate a number of screening tests for all newborns so that some problems can be minimized or averted. …

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