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Beacon Program: What To Expect

When families enter the Beacon Program they can expect to meet a health care team that will be actively involved in their care moving forward. This includes a care plan built specifically for that patient, access to care 24/7, in-patient care, out-patient care, sibling care and family care.

Building a care plan together

Care at the Beacon Program begins with a complete Health Service evaluation which is completed at our Beacon Clinic by the patient’s primary care provider and the entire care team. This time together allows the primary care provider, dietitian, clinical services coordinator and social worker to understand the family and diagnoses at a deep level. The family will leave this meeting with a comprehensive care plan that together, they will follow with the care team. The care plan includes:

  • Appointment reminders

  • Current medication lists

  • Information to share with schools about medications, feedings and schedules

  • Information about adverse reactions to food or medications

  • Insurance information

  • List of doctors, specialists, other health care providers and their contact information

  • Medical equipment and supply contacts

  • Preparing for new visits

  • Questions to ask providers

  • Summary of care plan

  • Tips for parents

Approximately six months after the initial meeting the team will meet with the family again for a well-child check-up. The family will work on progress, answer questions and modify any treatment plans. Care Conferences are held as needed with specialists and other healthcare providers who care for that patient. We find the conference settings creates important communication between those involved in treating the patient.

Access to care 24 hours a day

Families in the Beacon Program have access to medical professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each call is responded to by a primary care provider. Because the primary care provider personally knows each patient and family they can address the unique needs of the patient and evaluate if more urgent care is needed, such as care in an emergency department. This approach aims to manage patient needs at home has helped reduce visits to the emergency department by 10 percent and in-patient admissions by 14 percent since January 2015.

Outpatient care at the Beacon Clinic

The Beacon Program also includes an established Beacon Clinic. Same-day appointments are often available to established families. The Beacon Clinic is located at our Children’s Mercy Broadway and Children's Mercy Kansas locations.

In-patient care

Each family’s care team includes a Nurse Practitioner. When patients are admitted for a hospital stay the Nurse Practitioner will speak with the in-patient team and communicate back with the primary care provider.

Sibling care

Children’s Mercy wants to provide families in the Beacon Program the best access to medical resources for the family as well because the health of one child impacts others. Because of this, the providers in the Beacon Program also care for siblings. Some siblings have mild complexities; others require only routine pediatric care. The intent is to make it easier for families to get the best medical care for complex needs as well as routine. Today the Beacon Program cares for more than 100 siblings.

Family care

Social workers on our Beacon team are well connected with community resources and work to align resources to further support our families. We have found that patient families and our providers often develop a strong relationship. To foster and celebrate the work we are doing together we occasionally host an open house event. The event is a time for families to meet one another, experience other aspects of Children’s Mercy such as meeting our pet therapy dogs and time for the care team to interact with patients outside of medical visits.

Transition to adult care

The Beacon Program is committed to transitioning all of our patients to adult providers as seamlessly as possible. For some of our patients this is achieved by helping youth and young adults ages 12 and up, learn how to manage their healthcare and successfully move to an adult provider before their 22nd birthday. For other patients, this is achieved by helping the parents and guardians of youth and young adults ages 12 and up, learn how to manage their child’s healthcare and successfully move to to an adult provider before their child’s 22nd birthday.

The transition discussion starts at age 12 for all of our patients at well child checks. Beacon patients will develop a transition strategy with each of their providers and specialists. The transition process is adapted and tailored to the needs of each patient. 

Referrals to Beacon after the age of 18 are accepted. However, because of the goal to seamlessly transition our patients by the age of 22, if there is not an extenuating circumstance, patients referred after the age of 18 may be asked to establish with an adult provider instead of with Beacon. This provides a more seamless bridge for the patient and prevents having to re-establish care again with a new provider when he or she is 22.

A few words from your Beacon Program team:

The families we care for have found information about flu vaccines, preparing for an emergency and our transitioning to adult care programs helpful. Learn more about each of them here.

Information on Navigating Forms

A nurse with the Beacon Program at Children's Mercy helps answer commonly asked questions about required paperwork and forms for care.

Transitioning to Adult Care

The team with the Beacon Program describe the program designed to help kids transition to adult care.

Transitioning to Adulthood: Intellectual Disability & Developmental Disability

Children’s Mercy will help you prepare for adulthood, including transferring your medical care to a doctor that cares for adults. Most people can learn to manage their own health. It takes guidance from your medical team and support from the important people in your life.