Comprehensive care is: all of the medical services needed by a person with VWD and his/her family for the treatment of VWD and related conditions. This care is provided at a Hemophilia/Bleeding Disorder Treatment Centre.
This is a place where a person with VWD can receive all the care he/she needs at one time. It is called comprehensive care because it offers a complete range of services. The following people work there:
The Medical Director. He/she is often a hematologist who specializes in the area of blood clotting. He/she:
o prescribes the lab tests to find out the exact bleeding problem
o prescribes the proper treatment to control and prevent bleeding
o monitors the overall health of the person with VWD.
The Nurse Coordinator. He/she is the front-line person in the clinic. He/she:
o helps families deal with the day-to-day problems related to VWD
o answers families’ questions over the phone or at the clinic
o provides out-patient care at the clinic
o teaches families how to do home therapy (See What is home care?)
o organizes the delivery of blood products for home use
o coordinates appointments with other members of the comprehensive care team.
The Obstetrician/Gynecologist. He/she:
o works with the hematologist to prevent and control menorrhagia
o helps the woman with VWD to avoid complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
The Dentist. He/she:
o provides dental care
o works closely with the hematologist to prevent bleeding during dental work.
The Physiotherapist (especially for people with Type 3 VWD). He/she:
o checks the person’s joints and muscles to make sure joint movement is not lost and that muscles remain strong
o helps the person to regain lost joint function or to rebuild muscles through exercise
o helps the person to find a sports and exercise program to keep in top shape.
The comprehensive care team will add other individuals as needed. These include, among others:
- a social worker (to help families deal with the stresses of a bleeding disorder)
- a genetic counselor (to give information to carriers)
- an orthopedic specialist (for joint problems and joint surgery, especially for people with Type 3 VWD).