Baylor at HealthBridge

HealthBridge Children's Hospital is pleased to announce a new partnership with Baylor College of Medicine, in which physicians will teach residents a team-based, inter-disciplinary approach to caring for children with chronic needs.

"Our residents already learn what it's like to take care of acute problems, but what happens if the child requires chronic care that can't be managed in the home?" said Dr. Teri Turner, associate professor of pediatrics and associate director of house-staff education at Baylor.

They go to HealthBridge, a facility for children leaving acute care facilities but who aren't quite ready to transition, or cross the bridge, home.

The 40-bed, west Houston hospital has been providing comprehensive, interdisciplinary care for medically-complex pediatric patients in a home-like, non-institutional setting since 1999.

Its team-based approach is something Baylor residents are eager to learn.

"Functioning as a team is not traditionally how we've been trained in medicine, so this is a fairly new arena," Turner said. "A lot of communication has to take place. It's 'teach and learn.' Doctors are used to the teaching, but not so much the learning from other health professionals. That's why this is a great partnership."

There are 48 professionals on staff at HealthBridge, including pediatricians, physical therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, dieticians, nutritionists, child life specialists, social workers and child educators. In 2006, the University of Texas Medical School Pediatric Residents (UT) began rotating at HealthBridge and have continued this practice through present day.

"That is where the art of medicine comes in. We are all involved in patient care," said HealthBridge Pediatrician Dr. Jill Ann Jarrell. "It's a different approach, but now healthcare reform demands more efficient care of complicated cases, not just in adults, but children too."

HealthBridge has been doing just that for 12 years, and now Turner is looking forward to Baylor getting on board.

"It's no longer just the physician, or just the physician and nurse," Turner said. "That's simply not an efficient system. Instead, everyone adds to the care of the children, who are living longer with chronic diseases. We must learn how to maximize care and let them live life to the fullest."

Approximately 45 first-year Baylor residents will be on the HealthBridge rotation each year, three at a time.

They will learn about pulmonary medicine for infants and children with neurological injuries or breathing difficulties; therapeutic infusion for children who require hydration, antibiotic management, nutrition, intravenous pain management, transfusions and immunotherapy; gastroenterology for children and their families to support new feeding skills; and physical medicine/rehabilitation for children who have lost the ability to walk, talk, eat or breathe due to injury or illness.

"My goal is to have them understand the scope of what we do at HealthBridge, how we take care of a pretty sick child with a complicated case," said Jarrell, who will invite residents to shadow her as she sees patients.

The relationship is turning out to be a win-win for all.

"The residents are brilliant and hearing their ideas is exciting," said Jarrell, herself a Baylor College of Medicine graduate.

"This is a very big deal when it comes to pediatric healthcare in Houston," said HealthBridge Chief Executive Officer Joseph Rafferty. "When the community hears that the UT and Baylor Pediatric Residents are here, it's a stamp or seal of approval that we are providing amazing care. Baylor's presence complements the great care we are already providing at HealthBridge."

For more information, contact Tempest Mathews at  713-351-6613 .

Author: Jill Ann Jarrell
Phone: (832) 771-9332