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March 14, 2017

Bringing care closer to home for children with complex health needs

For children with complex medical needs and their families, something as simple as taking a bus ride can be a daunting and exhausting task. Last year, McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) partnered with Niagara Children’s Centre (NCC) to help improve the quality of life for children with complex medical conditions and their families living in Niagara.

The Pediatric Complex Care Clinic at MCH provides and coordinates care for children who have many health needs and who depend on technology to support their breathing. In many cases, these families come from across the Hamilton-Niagara region to access the clinic at MCH on a regular basis.

“Activities like getting ready for school or making a visit to the doctor are exponentially more difficult for these families,” says Dr. Madan Roy, chief of general pediatrics at MCH. “For those living outside of Hamilton, the trip into the city for a clinic appointment can be overwhelming and quite challenging given the very special needs of these children. The intent of this new clinic is to help improve accessibility and bring care closer to home for our complex care families.”

The partnership brings MCH’s complex care team to the Niagara centre once per month to see families who would previously have had to make the journey to Hamilton from Niagara for clinic appointments.

Niagara Children’s Centre provides service to 3,400 children and youth across the Niagara region with physical, developmental and communicative delays, many of whom are also patients at MCH. Through the partnership, NCC and MCH teams are able to work more closely together to support each child’s health needs, from multiple angles.

“This partnership is an important opportunity to bring two teams together in a way that benefits our families and patients. The collaborative nature of the clinic leads to better and more seamless care,” says Oksana Fisher, chief executive officer of Niagara Children’s Centre.

It’s a simple strategy that makes a big difference in the lives of young patients, and just one example of how MCH and Hamilton Health Sciences are planning to build new partnerships to deliver better, more accessible care.