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Since 1990, Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital has provided a childhood lead poisoning prevention and treatment program, which includes inpatient, outpatient and community outreach services. Lead poisoning can affect a child's brain function and development. The Lead Poisoning Treatment Program is the only lead poisoning specialty program in Maryland. Children seen in the program have already had a blood lead level checked by a primary care provider and reported to be a level of 5mcg/dL or greater. Often the Primary Care Provider will provide management for blood lead levels between 5-9mcg/dL, following the "2016 Maryland Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of Childhood Lead Exposure". Referrals to the Mt. Washington Lead Program are usually for blood lead levels above 9mcg/dL.
During a clinic visit, the interdisciplinary team, including a Nurse Practitioner, Social Worker, Nurse, Child Life Specialist and Dietitian, will complete a detailed health and social history, physical exam, laboratory monitoring, nutrition evaluation, developmental screening and social assessment for risk factors for lead exposure. The team will make recommendations for services child and family may need, including specialty developmental evaluations/interventions for child and parenting support networks. The team will help to coordinate care with community partners to facilitate home inspections and relocation if needed, and inpatient chelation therapy for child with blood lead level 45mcg/dL or greater. Treatment of lead poisoning is dependent on child's blood lead level and symptoms.
The hospital's lead treatment team is striving to increase awareness of the risks of lead poisoning to encourage all parents to have their children tested and to treat those children with lead poisoning by educating them about the various dietary and environmental modifications they can make to improve their condition, behavior management and parenting techniques, and developmental interventions. Since its inception, the program has treated hundreds of children.