Interdisciplinary team care of cleft lip and palate: Social and psychological aspects

R. P. Strauss, H. Broder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The organizational example of a university-based team and two patient case studies illustrate how team interaction affects decision making. The model presented for effective team organization is an egalitarian one. Interdependency, flexibility, and open communication among members are essential. Cleft lip and palate teams provide evaluation and treatment that include input from a variety of professional disciplines. The team context makes it possible for care to be coordinated and alleviates the fragmentation of seeking treatment from several independent specialists. Teams also have a special opportunity to address the complex social and psychological issues prevalent in treating persons with birth defects. Specialists, like psychologists and social workers, identify these issues so that surgeons, dentists, and other clinicians may provide a comprehensive treatment plan and management approach. If psychologists or social workers are not available to a team, the group may still successfully integrate a variety of social and personal factors into their decision making. Examples of problem areas and of issues that may be associated with difficulties in adjusting to cleft therapy are included in this article. Teams that effectively address the psychosocial needs of their patients will enhance patient satisfaction, cooperation, and treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-551
Number of pages9
JournalClinics in Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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