Providing cost-effective and coordinated care for children with medical complexity


Providing cost-effective and coordinated care for children with medical complexity


Chow C; Shahdadpuri R


Archives of Disease in Childhood




adolescent; child; female; home care; human; major clinical study; male; controlled study; nurse; multicenter study; conference abstract; caregiver; gastrostomy; cerebral palsy; pediatrician; outpatient; administrative personnel; artificial ventilation; congenital heart disease; diagnosis; fatigue; limited mobility; machine; medical technology; multidisciplinary team; neuromuscular disease; salary; stress; tracheostomy; ventilator; working time


Introduction: Many paediatric hospitals are treating increasing numbers of children with medical complexity (CMC), diagnosed with chronic life-limiting illnesses and requiring life-sustaining home medical technology. These medically fragile children and families are at risk of fragmented care, sub-optimal continuity and high healthcare resource utilization due to their multiple medical issues and care needs. Consequently, the Children's Complex and Home Care Services (CCHS) was established in our institution in April 2016 with the primary aims of providing coordinated, cost-effective and patient- and family-centered care to CMC and their families. This service is run by a multi-disciplinary team of pediatricians, nurses, allied health and administrative staff. CMC in our context have a chronic life-limiting condition that involves at least three body systems and are often technologically dependent with limited mobility. In view of the numerous healthcare professionals involved in their care, multiple medical appointments are often scheduled which result in significant caregiver stress and fatigue. One of the key service implementations was multidisciplinary clinics whereby children are seen over the course of 1-3 hours by multiple clinical, nursing and allied health specialists. The purpose of this study is to describe CCHS service implementations, characterize CCHS patient characteristics and evaluate how multidisciplinary clinics have reduced their healthcare resource utilization. Method(s): 55 patients who were enrolled in the CCHS between April 2016 and October 2018 were studied. Result(s): Patient ages ranged from 2 months to 14.3 years old at time of enrolment. The majority of patients had underlying primary genetic diagnoses (47.2%), and other patients had either the primary diagnosis of cerebral palsy (20%), congenital cardiac disease (5.4%), neuromuscular disease (3.6%) or another or undiagnosed underlying condition (23.6%). Medical technology required at time of enrolment included enteral devices such as nasogastric/nasojejunal tubes or gastrostomies (94.5%), suctioning machines (54.5%), ventilator support (34.5%) and tracheostomies (16.4%). CCHS multidisciplinary clinics managed to reduce the number of outpatient attendances by 6.8 visits per patient-year for CMC enrolled into the service. This saves caregivers from an equivalent number of workdays of lost salary, and translates to C 450 of savings per patient per year on just transportation costs alone. Conclusion(s): CMC are heterogeneous in conditions but similar in care needs, and reducing outpatient attendances and healthcare costs is possible with coordinated multi-disciplinary clinics.


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October 2019 List



Chow C; Shahdadpuri R, “Providing cost-effective and coordinated care for children with medical complexity,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed April 20, 2024,