Northwestern's Comprehensive Care Model - Introduction

Whether for one condition or a variety of conditions, every consumer of medical care comes into contact with many health professionals. We have all experienced seeking medical help for one symptom and ultimately encountering practitioners in diverse, and geographically disparate, specialties such as radiology, laboratory testing, physical therapy, neuropsychology, genetic testing, social work, and others. In fact, in any single case, the number of involved professionals increases with the complexity of the patient's needs. Experts in interprofessional teamwork for healthcare agree that “the myth of the omnipotence of the independent practitioner” is increasingly challenged by the discovery that, when professionals work together, the result is increased health outcomes and quality of care, and decreased cost. Nonetheless, few programs use multidisciplinary teams to provide comprehensive services.

At our National Parkinson Foundation Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Centers of Excellence, we are proud to be in the forefront of comprehensive, integrated care delivery. We seek to meet our patients' needs not only in the medical management of the disease, but also in patients and families' overall quality of life. That includes physical therapy and exercise programs, occupational therapy, education and support groups, counseling, caregiver support, access to community services, voice and swallowing therapies, nutritional recommendations, neurosurgical (Deep Brain Stimulation) evaluations, and complementary practices such as yoga, massage, acupuncture. Furthermore, we offer this spectrum of care in one location, and in the context of a multidisciplinary team that collaborates face-to-face and routinely. With such collaboration in place, communication can be regular; professionals roles are clear; patients' needs are the focus; and professionals are continually learning from one another. For continuity of care following a patient's multidisciplinary clinic visit, our physicians, when workable, will refer patients to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for consultation with a physiatrist and ongoing out-patient Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapies. RIC movement disorders teams--both outpatient and inpatient--work with our staff in order to make patient care as seamless as possible. We know that Parkinson's disease affects a patient and family in many areas of their lives. We therefore treat PD in a holistic way to meet the myriad needs of the "whole" person.

Comprehensive Care Model