The Value of the Team Approach
34% did not have a psychologist, clinical social worker, or other mental health professional who evaluates all patients on a regular basis
20% did not routinely test or screen patients for learning disabilities and development and language skills
11% did not have a team record that includes a complete medical history
9% did not routinely write reports or summary letters containing a treatment plan that are sent to families in a timely manner
8% did not include a hearing test by an audiologist before a child is one year old.
The Foundation for Faces of Children endorses a team approach to the treatment of children with craniofacial conditions. The are several variations on team care, in addition to the principal designations of cleft palate teams and craniofacial teams: and multidisciplinary teams.
An interdisciplinary team consists of several specialists who preform independent evaluations of your child (usually in the same location during the same appointment time) and then meet together to review findings and develop a joint plan of action. The team leader or other designated team member meets with the family to explain the assessments and the team's joint recommendation for treatment. Finding such a team in your area will take a bit of research. It is important to remember that not all cleft lip/palate and craniofacial teams have the same range of specialists or level of experience.
National Survey Finds Wide Disparities in Craniofacial Care
The first and only comprehensive national study of the 296 registered teams in North America, which was published in 1998, found wide disparities in the services offered, the number of patients treated each year, and follow-up services.
Only 50 percent of the teams measured treatment outcomes through a quality assurance program. Only six teams followed or treated more than 2000 patients per year while another 11 teams treated 1000-2000 patients.
Among the 247 teams responding to the survey, the average was 17 new cleft lip repairs a year. However, more than a third of the U.S. and Canadian centers reported performing fewer than 10 initial cleft lip repairs annually.
Only five craniofacial teams in North America, or two percent, performed more than 50 craniofacial (intracranial) surgical procedures in the previous year, while 45 teams, or 20 percent, performed 10 or fewer such procedures in that time.
There also was a broad diversity in the make-up of the teams and their services.
This range of services underscores the importance of learning about a care team in advance and making sure it can address the full range of your child's needs.
Download this PDF
Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Teams in the United States and Canada: A National Survey of Team Organization and Standards of Care,"
Ronald P. Strauss, D.M.D., Ph.D.
The Cleft Palate- Craniofacial Journal, Volume 35, No.6, 473-480, 1998.