Rather than providing a referral, a new model of care has pediatricians and psychologists teaming up to address both the physical and mental needs of their pediatric patients. Integrated primary care, where doctor and therapist work side by side in the same practice, offers numerous benefits to both the healthcare team and the patients. Sometimes the pediatrician practicing good trauma-informed care may discover their patient's chronic early morning stomachaches stem from bullying at school, a recent parental separation or divorce, or even a broken wrist sustained from a bike fall on the way to school, rather than from any physical issues. Having the ability to call a therapist into the room immediately provides better, more appropriate care for the patient, removes the need to make a referral and the stigma still associated with mental health care, as well as allows the physician to provide medical care to other patients. Many times, children and their families simply need a little extra support or a few coping tips as opposed to extensive mental health treatment, especially when mental health issues are found early, and this type of integrated care caters well to brief interventions and provide a bridge to more intensive counseling should the need arise.
Do you provide integrated care in your organization?