WVU Medicine Children’s Complex Care Pediatrics Clinic makes a big difference for families

WVU Medicine Children’s Complex Care Pediatrics Clinic makes a big difference for families

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Children who have complex medical conditions, often from being born premature or with congenital anomalies, require specialized care. The WVU Medicine Children’s Pediatric Complex Care Clinic coordinates whole-person care for kids with multiple health problems. 

Linda Friehling, M.D.
Linda Friehling, M.D.

Complex care pediatricians consult with primary pediatricians and specialists to oversee the well-being of children with multiple medical conditions requiring chronic and technology-dependent care. In the past, families had few options, and many of these patients were unable to leave the hospital. Now, these patients can thrive at home with their families.

“There are more children now who are surviving with a good quality of life from extreme prematurity, but they come with a lot of medical needs,” Linda Friehling, M.D., WVU Medicine Children’s Complex Care pediatrician, said. “What we’ve done in the last 15 to 20 years is to create a medical home model for delivering care to these children.”

The WVU Medicine Children’s Complex Care Pediatrics Clinic is accessible around the clock through telemedicine for parents who have questions or concerns. One of the goals of the Clinic is to reduce the number of hospital stays and emergency department visits. Giving parents a point of contact that can help them reach doctors or nurse practitioners to help them solve their problem or to determine if the child requires urgent medical attention provides critical peace of mind to these families.

“It's been something that families have loved,” Dr. Friehling said. “It fills a role, especially for families that live far away or have high risk patients in their homes who need to avoid exposure to illnesses.”

The Clinic also plays a large educational role, teaching families how to manage medical equipment, such as feeding tubes and ventilators. The Complex Care Pediatrics team is trained in intensive care, and team members have worked in both pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, providing a specialized skill-set to take care of issues and troubleshoot problems that parents of these children face.

The clinic started in 2018, and Friehling said she looks forward to the growth of the Complex Care Pediatrics Clinic with the construction of the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital

“We hope to build a complete team, including dietary specialists, social services, and pharmacy specialists, in order to better help parents navigate their children’s care,” Friehling said. “We look forward to helping more children whose needs are not currently being met. Something as seemingly small as managing multiple medications and coordinating visits with multiple specialists can make a huge difference for these families.” 

For more information on Complex Care Pediatrics at WVU Medicine Children’s, click here.

For more information on WVU Medicine Children’s, visit Childrens.WVUMedicine.org

For more information: Heather Bonecutter, Communications Specialist, 304-285-7256