Healthy child development is a key indicator of health and 18 months is a pivotal age in a child’s growth.
The 18-month well-baby visit is a key appointment for immunization and may be the last regular check-up before a child starts school. This is a crucial opportunity to determine whether a child is meeting important developmental milestones and to make any necessary connections among primary care practitioners, parents and community resources.
The Ontario government recognizes that physicians and other health professionals are in a unique position, through their continuing contact with patients and families, to improve the odds that children will meet their developmental potential. Following the advice of an expert panel to expand the 18-month visit, the province now funds a longer and more in-depth 18-month well-baby visit. The new OHIP fee code came into effect in October 2009.
The goal of the enhanced visit is to promote increased communication between parents and physicians or other health professionals to improve outcomes for children.
The enhanced visit allows health professionals to engage in a broader discussion with parents on topics that include their child’s motor and communications skills development, as well as feeding and behavioural issues. The visit is an opportunity to monitor growth and development for early identification of risk, and for referral for necessary early intervention and treatment.
The enhanced visit allows the physician or other health professional to take the time they need, using standardized tools, to: