TGH Significant Developmental and Physical Disabilities Team

Tampa General Hospital recognizes each patient is unique. Patients who have significant developmental and physical disabilities (SDPD) may include those with chronic conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and spina bifida.

Because admission to the hospital can be a stressful situation for these patients, our SDPD team works together to ensure the patient-centered care approach best meets the individual’s needs and helps reduce anxiety for patients and their families. Caregivers are involved in the plan of care, daily care and discharge plan because they are the experts in the everyday needs of the patient with SDPD.

TGH’s SDPD team members meet to identify and address the patient’s unique care needs within 24 hours after the patient has been admitted. Following admission, the patient’s family caregiver or facility representative is asked to complete the “My Health Passport” document. This document helps the hospital staff get to know the patient as a person.

“My Health Passport” contains important information about the patient’s habits, such as:

  • How to best communicate with the individual (e.g. speech, preferred language, communication devices)
  • How to know when they are in pain, and if they have a high/low pain tolerance
  • The best way to help them if they are upset or distressed (e.g. playing patient’s favorite music)
  • How they cope with medical procedures
  • What their mobility needs are
  • How to assist them when they get washed and dressed
  • How to assist them when eating/drinking
  • Their food/beverage likes and dislikes
  • Their sensitivities (lights, sights, sounds and odors)
  • Their hobbies
  • How to make future/follow-up appointments easier

During hospitalization, TGH strives to maintain activities of daily living and encourages family member participation. “Special Needs Buddies” are available through the TGH Volunteer Services department to sit with the patient and provide them company.

For questions regarding the TGH SDPD team, please contact TGH Case Management at 813-844-7366.