Team approach promises a comprehensive evaluation
The Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre has opened an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Clinic. The clinic emphasizes teamwork and promises a coordinated approach to diagnosis and management of this complex condition. The clinic will ensure children are seen by the right team of specialists as quickly as possible.
In the past, pediatricians would refer children thought to have ADHD to any number of services, programs, clinics or specialists at the Children's. A review of referral patterns found some children with ADHD were waiting for clinic services that did not best meet their needs. This meant that these children might once again be placed on another waiting list before their needs were truly met.
Today, thanks to the new ADHD Clinic, pediatricians or even parents with a referral who suspect their child may have ADHD can call the clinic's central intake number, 514-412-4244. A screening process will take place to determine if indeed there is a question of ADHD and/or any additional problems such as a learning disorder, depression or seizures. Once this initial triage is done, the child will be sent directly to the right sub-specialty team for a thorough evaluation.
"Because ADHD is such a complex disorder, systematic, comprehensive assessments and treatments are mandatory," says Dr. Emmett Francoeur, Director of the Children's Child Development Program and Chair of the ADHD Program Planning Committee. "We know untreated, the disorder leads to significant academic, social and emotional impairment and the risk of school drop-outs, work problems, depression and drug/alcohol abuse in adolescents and adults. It is thus crucial to accurately diagnose and effectively treat these children early. The Children's new clinic hopes to streamline care and ensure children receive a comprehensive evaluation as quickly as possible."
In addition to conducting this comprehensive evaluation, the specialists in the ADHD Clinic will provide patients with a short-term assessment and appropriate follow-up. The children will then be referred back to services in their communities and to their referring physician for long-term care.
"The ADHD Clinic currently receives about ten calls a week from parents concerned their child may have ADHD. We realize publicizing this service will mean the volume of calls we receive will increase dramatically," says Dr. Linda Moxley-Haegert, psychologist and coordinator, ADHD Clinic. "We will do our best to keep up with the demand."
Members of the clinic will work closely with community resources, including school boards, CLSCs and private community groups, to share their knowledge and expertise in behavioural interventions for classroom management, anger management and parent training, which are critical aspects of comprehensive treatment.
The team in the ADHD Clinic includes 1.5 psychologists, a psychoeducator, a part-time nurse, a part-time secretary and four pediatricians who will be doing two half-day ADHD evaluation clinics each week along with the sub-specialty ADHD clinics in Neurology, Psychiatry and Child Development. Funding for the clinic is being borne primarily by the Montreal Children's Hospital, with some additional long-term funding coming from the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders, affecting approximately six percent of Quebec children. It is characterized by lack of impulse control, inability to concentrate and hyperactivity.