New Parkwood program for those growing up with complex conditions
Young people with complex medical needs often fall through the cracks when it comes to rehabilitative care as they age.
But an innovative new program at Parkwood Hospital hopes to bridge the gap between pediatric care and adult services.
Chris Madden has spina bifida, and until now the 21-year-old hasn't had a way to co-ordinate his complex treatment needs.
It's been a source of frustration for him and his mom Jacqueline.
She says, "These guys have a lot of things going on with their bodies, there's a lot of complex things that go on, and as they age there seems to be more and more and more."
Chris is among the first people to take part in the Transitional and Lifelong Care or TLC program offered through Parkwood Hospital.
Dr. Caitlin Cassidy will be working with a team of health care workers to meet the needs of young people like Chris who have conditions like spina bifida or cerebral palsy.
"Their needs don't end when they're 18, right, and they are doing so well medically that they're getting older and older with the conditions that they were born with or acquired early in childhood."
In the past, patients like Chris have fallen through the cracks as they transition away from pediatric care.
Rehabilitation director Julie Gilvesy says the health care team will provide individualized care plans for people like Chris.
"When you have complex needs and issues to deal with, that is what makes the difference. So you have all those minds coming together to integrate the care and to come up with the best plan."
The program expects to work with about 120 young people in its first year with hopes of expanding later. Along with the therapeutic component there will also be a research element.
For Chris's mom, the TLC is about peace of mind, "He knows who he has to call, where he has to go to ensure everything is working right and to have one central place to coordinate the care for him."