Introduction to Standards of Team Care for Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Teams

Teams are comprised of experienced and qualified professionals from medical, surgical, dental, and allied health disciplines working in an interdisciplinary and coordinated system. The purpose and goal of Teams is to ensure that care is provided in a coordinated and consistent manner with the proper sequencing of evaluations and treatments within the framework of the patient’s overall developmental, medical, and psychological needs.

As a means to verify the quality of the care provided by such Teams, the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA) has an approval process in order to provide:

  • Standards that identify essential characteristics of quality for Team composition and functioning in order to facilitate the improvement of team care
  • Accurate information to patients and families/caregivers regarding services provided by those Teams that meet specified standards

These standards have been widely peer-reviewed and represent expectations for approval of Teams providing care to individuals with clefts and craniofacial conditions.

It is important to note that Team approval is a voluntary and non-exclusionary process. There is no judgment or statement of quality made about established Teams that have not selected to apply for approval; nor is holding approval required in order for health care professionals to organize and advertise themselves as a team. However, all Teams that do choose to undergo an external evaluation and demonstrate compliance with the standards for team care will be listed by ACPA as approved Teams. ACPA Approved Teams are the teams ACPA encourages patients and families to consider first for cleft and craniofacial healthcare needs.

The ACPA has established standards for care and have identified the following six components as essential to the quality of care provided by interdisciplinary teams of health care specialists to patients with cleft lip/palate or craniofacial anomalies, regardless of the specific type of disorder:

  • Team Composition
  • Team Management and Responsibilities
  • Patient and Family/Caregiver Communication
  • Cultural Competence
  • Psychological and Social Services
  • Outcomes Assessment