The Primary Care Physician, Basis for the Medical Home
One of the most important aspects of securing quality, integrated care for families of young adults with medically fragile conditions is to establish the coordination of medical care and services for complex conditions. Your primary care provider is your first stop on the journey of planning and staying on top of the transition planning process for medical care. The primary care provider can and should provide important information to other team members about the individual’s special health needs as they relate to medical, residential, educational, and recreational-vocational issues.
In the transition from pediatric to adult primary medical care, the pediatrician who cared for your child will work with you to transition to an adult care provider after your child reaches 18 years of age or older. Often they will continue to work with you until you have found a new adult physician (18).
Not all Family Practitioners or Internal Medicine physicians are knowledgeable and trained to meet the complex needs of a young adult with medically fragile conditions and profound disabilities. Word of mouth, referrals from hospitals, from specialists and your Internet searching are all ways of capturing this information on adult healthcare providers with experience in young adults with medically fragile conditions.
Medical home coordination may provide answers to the question: How does one maintain all of the services required for quality of life as the young adult transitions to adult care, including regular medical care, physical therapy, art therapy, school, social services, benefits’ assistance, and more?
Medical Home Model—the Physician’s Perspective
The “Medical Home” concept is the 21st century model for coordinated, primary care. If you want to get a close-up view of how a pediatrician views building a medical home team, take a look at these two physician organization websites. They give you a detailed view of how an MD goes about shaping a Medical Home (17,20).