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Support for Children with Medical Complexity

June 22, 2023

Caring for children with medical complexity can be challenging for families and caregivers. It requires a deep understanding of the child's unique needs and coordination with multiple healthcare specialists and providers. 

In this article, we will define what medical complexity is, the types of impairments that fall under this category, and the resources available for caregivers. We'll also highlight the importance of using a team-based approach to ensure the well-being for kids!

What is medical complexity?

Medical complexity refers to multiple chronic conditions in a child that requires ongoing medical management and coordination of care. These conditions may include the following:

  • Physical
  • Developmental
  • Behavioral

A medically complex child could spend a lot of time in the hospital, which often means specialized care must continue at home or in an outpatient capacity.  

Children with medical complexity often experience significant impacts on their health and quality of life, necessitating specialized care and support from various healthcare experts, family members, and caregivers.

Types of impairments in children with medical complexity

Children with medical complexity may have a wide range of impairments. These can include complex medical conditions, such as:

  • Congenital heart defects
  • Genetic disorders
  • Severe neurological conditions

They can also involve developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and intellectual disabilities. 

Behavioral health issues, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety disorders, may also contribute to the medical complexity of a child.

Resources for caregivers

Resources and support systems are available to help caregivers of children with medical complexity. These may include:

  • Specialized healthcare providers and treatment centers: Many healthcare providers and centers cater specifically to children with complex medical needs, offering specialized care and resources.
  • Support groups and forums: Connecting with other families facing similar challenges can provide valuable advice, emotional support, and practical tips.
  • Educational resources: Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provide resources and guidelines for managing medical complexity in children.

Team-based approach

A team-based approach is integral to successfully managing medical complexity in children. It involves working closely with various healthcare providers and specialists, including:

  • Primary care physicians
  • Occupational therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers 

In addition, families and caregivers play a critical role in ensuring that children receive the appropriate care, support, and accommodations necessary to achieve their best possible quality of life. 

Have Questions?

Caring for someone with medical complexity can be incredibly challenging. However, family caregivers can provide the best care possible for their loved ones by accessing support and resources. If you ever need help with any questions related to family caregiving, don't hesitate to reach out! At Best Care, we are here to offer guidance and support! Browse our resources or contact us directly.

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