Today, I wanted to take the opportunity to define a big word for everyone! Interdisciplinary. Big long and kinda intimidating! Our great google search engine found this for me as a definition: “a team a group of health care professionals from diverse fields who work in a coordinated fashion toward a common goal for the patient.”
Why is this important?
You may also hear the word, “multidisciplinary” – also a very long and kinda intimidating word. But it’s meaning is very different. That same lovely search engine helped to also define this big ‘ole word: “a group of health care workers who are members of different disciplines, each providing specific services to the patient.”
When you come to see the UNC Feeding Team, you will see three different disciplines who work together to provide a common goal to our patients…in other words…we do not work in a vacuum. We truly use the expertise each provider brings to the table to formulate a plan together.
What does this look like in practice? From the medical provider perspective, I will share an example.
Patient A has been seeing our team for 6 weeks. I have started the patient on a reflux medication and our dietitian has started him on a formula that is far easier to digest than previous. All three disciplines gather in the room for a follow up with the patient. A’s parent reports that he is no longer vomiting and is stooling regularly, at least twice daily. He has taken more volume of food at each sitting since adding in more purees (see previous post) but has really not expanded his diet to accept a greater variety of foods and flavors.
The speech therapist then moves forward with feeding the patient for her portion of the visit. Following her therapy session, she comes to both myself and the dietitian and says, “He did a great job opening his mouth, he was not exhibiting any obvious symptoms of reflux and did not gag. However, he was not interested in the food. He did not seem hungry.”
We then have a discussion and decide together to start the patient on a medication for appetite stimulation and recommend adding a high calorie additive (butter and/or cream if the child is able to tolerate dairy) to enhance flavors of puree. I prescribed the medication, the dietitian makes recommendations for the additives and the speech pathologist recommends behavioral strategies to combat any potential refusal to eat.
This example helps to illustrate our team approach. We do not go into patient rooms individually and offer suggestions only specific to our expertise. We pull on the vast knowledge of our colleagues who, together with our knowledge, can provide true best outcomes for our feeding kids.
The UNC Feeding Team is just that, a team…and if you want to get technical…call us interdisciplinary…