The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents ideally should be accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family centered, coordinated, and compassionate. It should be delivered or directed by well-trained physicians who are able to manage or facilitate essentially all aspects of pediatric care. The physician should be known to the child and family and should be able to develop a relationship of mutual responsibility and trust with them. These characteristics define the "medical home" and describe the care that has traditionally been provided by pediatricians in an office setting. In contrast, care provided through emergency departments, walk-in clinics, and other urgent-care facilities is often less effective and more costly.
We should strive to attain a "medical home" for all of our children. Although geographic barriers, personnel constraints, practice patterns, and economic and social forces make the ideal "medical home" unobtainable for many children, we believe that comprehensive health care of infants, children, and adolescents, wherever delivered, should encompass the following services:
1. Provision of preventive care including, but not restricted to, immunizations, growth and development assessments, appropriate screening, health care supervision, and patient and parental counseling about health and psychosocial issues.
2. Assurance of ambulatory and inpatient care for acute illnesses, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; during the working day, after hours, on weekends, 52 weeks of the year.
3. Provision of care over an extended period of time to enhance continuity.
4. Identification of the need for subspecialty consultation and referrals and knowing from whom and where these can be obtained.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics