US Team Listings, alphabetically by State
(Equipos en los Estados Unidos, alfabéticamente por estado)
International Team Listings, alphabetically by Country
(Equipos internacionales, alfabéticamente por país)
*More European teams can be found through the European Cleft Gateway.*
Understanding Cleft and Craniofacial Team Care
Children born with clefts or other craniofacial conditions often require complex and specialized health care from infancy to young adulthood. Experience has shown that this care is best managed when an interdisciplinary team of specialists work with the family to develop and follow a treatment plan. Cleft-craniofacial treatment teams are made up of specialists who coordinate to offer multiple types of health care, addressing cleft and craniofacial needs throughout a person’s life. We consistently see the best outcomes from the specialized treatment received through teams. We encourage individuals and families to work with a cleft-craniofacial treatment team whenever possible.
You or your child may not need care from each type of specialist, but a treatment team may include:
- an audiologist (who assesses hearing);
- a surgeon (such as a plastic surgeon, an oral/maxillofacial surgeon, a craniofacial surgeon, or a neurosurgeon);
- a pediatric dentist or other dental specialist (such as a prosthodontist, who makes prosthetic devices for the mouth);
- an orthodontist (who straightens the teeth and aligns the jaws);
- a geneticist (who screens patients for craniofacial syndromes and helps parents and adult patients understand the chances of having more children with these conditions);
- a nurse (who helps with feeding problems and provides ongoing supervision of the child’s health);
- an otolaryngologist (an “ear nose and throat” doctor, or “ENT”);
- a pediatrician (to monitor overall health and development);
- a psychologist, social worker, or other mental health specialist (to support the family and assess any adjustment problems);
- a speech-language pathologist (who assesses not only speech but also feeding problems);
- and other necessary specialists who treat specific aspects of complex craniofacial anomalies.
Since growth greatly affects the path of treatment and successful outcomes, a child must have thorough and regular assessments by a treatment team until young adulthood. Some individuals may require additional care in their older adult years. The Parameters for Evaluation and Treatment of Patients with Cleft Lip/Palate or Other Craniofacial Anomalies document summarizes the current guidelines for team care endorsed by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. As they follow these guidelines, cleft-craniofacial treatment teams promote the best possible outcomes for children born with clefts or other craniofacial birth defects. For more information about cleft lip/palate or craniofacial teams, please call us on our CLEFTLINE: 1.800.24.CLEFT
Selecting a Team
Now that you understand how team care works and have seen the approved listing of teams in your area, here are a few other points to consider in selecting a team:
- Qualifications of the individual members on the team
All the professionals on the team should be fully trained and appropriately certified and licensed. This issue may impact your insurance coverage, as well as the quality of care the team can deliver.
- Experience of the team
Each team must take responsibility for assuring that team members not only have appropriate and current credentials, but also have requisite experience in evaluation and treatment of patients with cleft lip/palate and other craniofacial anomalies. You should ask how often the team meets and approximately how many patients are seen at each meeting. You may also want to find out how long this group of professionals has been meeting as a team and how much experience the various individual professionals have had.
- Location of the team
The distance of the team from your home may or may not be an important consideration in choosing a team. In general, the team will be seeing your child only periodically throughout his/her growing years. Usually routine treatment such as general dental care, orthodontics, speech therapy, and pediatric care will be provided by professionals in your own community who will be in regular contact with professionals on the team. Your travel to a team will usually be limited to several trips a year or even once a year.
- Affiliation of the team and its members
You may want to ask if the team is listed with the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) and how many individual members of the team are also members of ACPA. Staying current with recent developments in the field is one sign of a conscientious and concerned health care professional. You may also want to determine whether the team has any relationship to an established hospital or to a medical school or university. Team access to facilities for diagnostic studies and treatment are often better with such an affiliation.
- Communication with the team
Your child may require care over a period of years, so make sure you are comfortable communicating and working with the members of the team. Treatment recommendations should be communicated to you in writing, as well as in face-to-face discussion. The team should assist you in locating parent-patient support groups and any other sources for services that are either not provided by the team itself or are better provided at the community level.
For more information about how listed teams are reviewed and approved, please read our Team Disclaimer.
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