Information for Healthcare Providers of Children with Special Needs
What you should do
Support Medical Homes
Medical Homes, also known as the Patient-Centered Medical Homes, are an approach to providing comprehensive primary care that facilitates partnerships between individual patients, and their primary or specialty care providers, and when appropriate, the patient’s family. Medical homes for children with special health care needs are vital and should be: coordinated, comprehensive, continuous, culturally competent, family-centered, and compassionate. The Office of Special Needs provides providers with a resources in providing a medical home for children and youth with special needs and their families.
Support Adolescent Healthcare Transition
Healthcare transition can be defined as a purposeful, planned process that addresses the medical, psychosocial, educational/vocational needs of adolescents and young adults as they move into adulthood.
A well-timed transition, leading to transfer from child- to adult-oriented healthcare, ideally occurs between 12-21 years, with the goal to maximize life-long functioning and well-being.
In response to the 2002 consensus statement coauthored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Physicians (ACP)-American Society of Internal Medicine, The Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health recommend the following timeline for adolescent healthcare transition:
- Age 12 - Make youth and family aware of transition policy.
- Age 14 - Initiate healthcare transition planning.
- Age 16 - Prepare youth and family for adult model of care and discuss transfer.
- Age 18 - Transition to adult model of care.
- Age 18-22 - Transfer care to adult medical home and/or specialists with transfer package
- Age 23-26 - Integrate young adults into adult care
The Rhode Island Department of Health echoes this consensus statement in encouraging all primary care providers and medical sub-specialists who serve adolescents to adopt a transition policy. Transition planning should be a standard component care for all youth and young adults, and every patient should have a transition plan including a portable medical summary.
The Office of Special Needs is available for on-site transition technical assistance.
Check out the Rhode Island Medical Home Portal
The Medical Home Portal is a unique source of reliable information about children and youth with special health care needs, offering a “one-stop shop” for their families, physicians and medical home teams, and other professionals and caregivers.