Children and youth with special healthcare needs: there is no place like (a medical) home

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2007 Aug;19(4):503-8. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32825a67b4.


Purpose of review: This review highlights the importance, components, and outcomes of the medical home for children and youth with special healthcare needs. Relevant work supporting the medical home concept for this vulnerable group is highlighted for healthcare providers.

Recent findings: Developing a medical home model is garnering support from many national organizations and agencies. Having a medical home for children and youth with special healthcare needs is associated with favorable impacts on healthcare utilization and family-centered care. Achieving family-centered care is associated with increases in satisfaction and linkages to specialists, decreases in school absences and unmet medical needs. Consistent insurance coverage is important for children and youth with special healthcare needs to thrive. Further, lack of access to informational resources minimizes families' knowledge of available public programs.

Summary: Children and youth with special healthcare needs constitute a vulnerable population in need of comprehensive and accessible care. Provision of care via a medical home can be efficient and effective in this population of children and their families. Due to the relatively high cost of providing fragmented care to these children and youth, advances in coordinating access to services will have a cost-effective outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / economics
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration
  • Child, Exceptional*
  • Comprehensive Health Care / economics
  • Comprehensive Health Care / organization & administration
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Disabled Children*
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Needs Assessment
  • Primary Health Care / economics
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*