Why Multidisciplinary Care Matters

Clara was 2 years old when she was diagnosed with congenital muscular dystrophy. Her family was referred to their local Minneapolis MDA Care Center, and when they got there, Clara’s mom, Becky, says it felt “a bit like coming home.”

MDA Care Center
Left to right: Becky, Clara, Lyla and Ryan.

Our MDA Care Center is a huge gift for us as working parents managing a household of four,” Becky says. “In one afternoon, we see nurses, physicians, physical therapists, MDA staff, our genetic counselor and many other specialists without having to go to another appointment at another location on another day. I can’t imagine having to coordinate all of her specialists. That would burn us out and create a strain on our family.”

MDA provides care for kids and adults from day one at our network of more than 150 MDA Care Centers across the United States and Puerto Rico. But we don’t provide just any care — we provide a special kind of care called multidisciplinary care.

At MDA Care Centers, individuals and families can access the expertise of many different health care specialists at one time to prevent the need for multiple appointments and added time away from school or work. Additionally, this innovative, coordinated care is proven to enhance quality of life, prolong life and create a better health care experience.

Becky and her husband Ryan know how valuable multidisciplinary care is for Clara and their family, too. In addition to saving the working parents of two many hours, their MDA Care Center also provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing Clara is receiving the best care possible.

“There’s a comfort in having predictability when you’re dealing with a chronic disease,” Becky says. “Going to our MDA Care Center provides a lot of comfort. We typically have contact with a dozen or more specialists in one afternoon. It’s like clockwork — one provider comes in and does their exam or speaks with us, and as they walk out the next provider walks in. It’s the most impressive medical setting I’ve ever been in, and we know we’re getting the best care in our area.”

By the end of 2017, every MDA Care Center will be required to have the following health care team members as part of their multidisciplinary team if they don’t already:

  • A physician (typically a neurologist or physiatrist)
  • A social worker
  • A physical therapist
  • A Care Center coordinator
  • An MDA representative

Physicians and clinicians from additional specialties — such as cardiologists, dietitians/nutritionists, genetic counselors, neuropsychologists, nurses, orthopedists, occupational therapists, pulmonologists, psychiatrists, research coordinators, respiratory therapists, speech language pathologists and more — may also be available to regularly attend Care Center sessions or consult about care.

To learn more about MDA Care Centers and to find one near you, visit https://www.mda.org/services/your-mda-care-center.