Why a Team approach?
Two reasons, really.
First There are many aspects to your child's care that you may not even be aware of at their birth. Over the course of your child's treatment, and depending on the severity of the cleft, he/she may require visits to:
...and possibly other specialists, as well. While this list might look overwhelming, you may or may not see all these specialists on a particular visit. Your child's age and progress will determine which team members will be seen on a given day.
Second The goal of the Team is to provide specialized care for your child. Simply stated, not all plastic surgeons specialize in cleft reconstruction. Not all otolaryngologists are specialists in cleft-related issues. Not all orthodontists have worked closely with children born with clefts.
Working with a Cleft Palate Team will ensure that you and your child have access to all the specialists necessary for complete and timely treatment throughout the repair process. These professionals consult with each other on a regular basis about your child's care and will issue you a report on their findings and recommendations. They will outline a course of action, and help you and your child reach many milestones throughout the years.
YOU are the Team Leader! Rest assured, you will have total control over your child's care. Be prepared by jotting down in a notebook any questions and concerns, and bring this list to the appointment. Your team will make sure that you understand all treatment and surgery options, as well as the timing of staged repairs.
YOU are your child's best advocate! Make sure that you understand all the information you are offered, and don't hesitate to ask questions. Your team is there to serve you!
Best part of all? While a trip to the Cleft Palate Team can translate into a long day, it's sort of like one-stop shopping! All of these specialists are in one place at a specific time on a specific date for your convenience. Sure beats driving around town for days visiting each doctor's individual office, especially if you live outside a major metropolitan area.
You can call the CLEFTLINE at (800) 24-CLEFT 24-hours, toll-free.
Brought to you by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA)
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This cleftAdvocate page was last updated March 25, 2014
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