BRANTFORD — Hamilton Health Sciences’ McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) and the Lansdowne Children’s Centre (LCC) in Brantford have partnered to bring health care closer to home for children with complex medical needs and their families. The McMaster Children with Medical Complexity Clinic at Lansdown Children’s Centre officially launched this week with a celebratory event for patients, families, and staff.
“This is a big milestone for us,” says Rita-Marie Hadley, executive director of LCC. “This collaboration is going to make such a difference for families in our area.”
Lisa Webster, director of pediatrics at MCH agrees. “We’re so proud to be able to support our patients closer to home.”
For many of these families, something as simple as taking a bus ride can be a daunting and exhausting task. The Pediatric Complex Care Clinic at MCH provides and coordinates care for children who have many health needs, including some who depend on technology to support their breathing. In many cases, these families come from outside Hamilton to access the clinic at MCH on a regular basis. The intent of this new clinic is to improve accessibility and bring care closer to home for families in the Brant region.
“This new clinic will ease the burden of travel for families,” says Dr. Benjamin Klein, medical director at LCC. “The clinic will also allow us to improve collaboration with providers from McMaster Children’s Hospital, since we will be working together directly. We’re building care around the families we serve.”
It’s led by Anna Polanski, a nurse practitioner from MCH, and Dr. Daisy Liu a pediatrician from LCC, and supported by allied health professionals including physiotherapists and dietitians. The collaboration will create a more seamless experience for families.
“Coordinating all the services a child with a disability needs poses a tremendous challenge for parents and those who support them,” Dr. Klein says. “This partnership is strengthening the collaboration and communication between our two organizations and parents, which makes for better care.”
Donna Nagy knows all too well the challenges of caring for a child with complex medical needs. Her granddaughter, Teleah turns three in December and has spent about half of her life so far in the hospital. She has been traveling from Brantford to Hamilton for care frequently, and is relieved to have this new clinic so close to home.
“It’s saving time, it’s saving money, and it’s saving Teleah the anxiety she gets when we have to make a long trip to the hospital,” Donna says.
Anna, looks forward to better supporting families like Teleah’s through this new integration.
“I hope that we as a team can help provide continuity of care between the hospital and community setting,” she says.
Donna has already seen the benefits of the partnership. She says having everyone working together at one clinic has improved Teleah’s care.
“It’s great. To have everyone from complex care at McMaster Children’s Hospital join together with the team at Lansdowne is a big benefit,” she says. “They’re all on the same page.”
This is MCH’s second satellite complex care clinic—the first opened at Niagara Children’s Centre in 2016.