Meeting a growing national need for integrated care for children dealing with combinations of psychiatric and physical illness, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with Bradley Hospital, recently expanded its medical/psychiatric programs. The expansion doubles the number of inpatient beds and extends capacity in its partial hospital program.
The Medical/Psychiatric Program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island and its multidisciplinary team address the needs of children and adolescents ages six to 18 with complex pediatric illnesses such as eating disorders or medical illness complicated by psychiatric co-morbidity.
Renovations at the Inpatient Medical/Psychiatric Program expanded the program from eight to 16 beds. Also expanded during the renovation is the Hasbro Children’s Partial Hospital Program, which has extended capacity from 16 patients to 24. The partial program, opened in 1998, is the only day treatment program in New England for children with combined medical and psychiatric illness.
The family-based, integrated programs serve a growing number of patients sent from some of the largest academic medical centers across the country, from as far away as California.
“During the couple of months prior to the expansion of the partial hospital program, we were routinely having a waitlist of anywhere from 45 to 90 [patients],”said Michelle Rickerby, M.D., psychiatric director of Child Med/Psych Services for Lifespan. “From 1998 to now, our referral base has expanded substantially.”
Both the inpatient and partial hospitalization programs involve patients’ families in the creation of an individualized treatment plan, incorporating a balance of medical and psychological support.
“What allows us to be able to provide the care that we do is that it’s not just having pediatric and psychological care existing in parallels – it’s really the integration of that,” said Diane DerMarderosian, M.D., pediatric director of the Partial Hospital Program. “It doesn’t work to have a consult model; it really is a team of people working together. And not just the pediatric and psychological teams, but partnering with the families is the most important thing.”
Medical and mental health providers work in the unique context of each family.
“We feel really strongly that a lot of times the most important shifts here that are happening are what’s related to the family and family experience and behaviors,” DerMarderosian said.
The program provides education for patients and families. “We also collaborate with outpatient providers who know the families the best, and are going to be working with the families when they leave,” DerMarderosian said.
Added Rickerby, “The way we are able to support community-based providers, we are giving a joint, unified message to the family.
“All providers are working together to give really clear messages and support,” she said.
The program incorporates the unified model of family-based integrated care to treat a huge range of illnesses, Rickerby said. The Medical/Psychiatric Program at Hasbro has become somewhat of a model for integrated programs across the country. “We’re actually right now networking with half a dozen other places that are working on getting programs started,” Rickerby said.
By Pamela Berard