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Health Information For Parents
Part of parenting is being in charge of your child’s medical care. Usually, it’s no big deal. You take your child to the same doctor every time for routine checkups and sick visits, and that’s about all you need to do.
But what if your child has to see many doctors or spend a lot of time in hospitals? What if your child needs multiple tests and procedures?
When your child has a serious injury or medical condition, things can get complicated — and costly — very quickly. You need an approach to medical care that is focused on your child in a way that will ensure the right type of care, delivered as quickly as possible by people who communicate with each other regularly — all at a price you can afford.
You need what’s called a “medical home” for your child.
A medical home isn’t a place like a hospital or doctor’s office. In fact, it’s not a place at all. It’s more like a way of keeping everything about someone’s medical self — his or her medical history, dealings with insurance companies, treatment schedule, referrals to specialists — in one place. These records can be kept at doctor’s offices, clinics, or hospitals and stored in files on a computer or within an electronic medical record (EMR), or in paper folders.
When kids have a medical home, it’s easier for doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to look up their medical information quickly and find what’s needed. This helps everyone stay on the same page and work together to coordinate care so that are no overlaps, gaps, or mistakes.
In all cases, the medical home should be led by a primary care provider (PCP) who knows your kids best.
The goal of a medical home is to make sure kids get all the care they need and always have access to medical care, whether that means a routine checkup or a trip to the ER.
A medical home means that you’ll establish a relationship with a primary care doctor who you and your child trust and who can work together with you to keep your child’s care and records organized and up to date.
Your PCP should:
To start, make sure that your child has health insurance that allows him or her to see a doctor for regular checkups. Then, make sure your child gets to all scheduled appointments on time, and talk to your doctor about everything related to your child’s health. Listen to what your doctor has to say, educate yourself on any conditions your child has, and ask the doctor about any concerns or questions that come up.
When your child needs a vaccine (like a flu shot), go to your doctor’s office for it first, not a drugstore or health fair. If you do take your child elsewhere for a shot, make sure to bring any related medical information with you, and remember to tell your doctor about it so he or she can update your child’s record.
If your child has symptoms of an illness or injury, always call the doctor’s office and schedule an appointment. Only use emergency departments and other urgent care centers when there’s a real emergency, or if your doctor’s office is closed and the on-call nurse or doctor tell you to seek urgent care.
Most of all, though, find a PCP you and your child like and stick with him or her. For lots of kids, the doctor can be someone they only see once a year. But for others, their doctor can be a big part of their lives./p>
This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
The Special Needs Alliance helps people with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them. Find national and local services and support programs, get answers to questions about finances and disability benefits, or search the attorney database to find help with legal matters.
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
The AMA has made a commitment to medicine by making doctors more accessible to their patients. Contact the AMA at:
American Medical Association
515 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60610
This website brings together families who have children with special health needs.
Because EHRs improve how well your doctors talk to each other and coordinate your treatment, they can enhance your overall care. This article gives the facts on electronic health records.
Visit our center on managing your medical care for advice on how to get involved in taking charge of your health and choosing the right health care providers.
If you suffer from a chronic illness, you know it can be anything but fun. But you can become better informed and more involved in your care. Here are tips to help you deal.
Taking charge of your own health care is a big step, and it can be a little overwhelming. Here’s a quick crash course on insurance for teens.
If you need medical care but don’t think you can afford it, you’re not alone. Get tips on finding low-cost or free care in this article for teens.
Health insurance has a language all its own. This article for teens explains what some key terms mean.
We all deserve a doc who helps us feel comfortable and understood – and who can guide our medical care in a way we need. Get tips on finding the best doctor for you.
Your best resource for health information and advice is your doctor – the person who knows you, your medical history, and accurate medical information to answer your questions.
Many health institutions digitally store their patients’ health information. Learn about electronic health records (EHRs) and how they can improve health care.
Building a relationship with your child’s doctor requires communication and reasonable expectations.
The government’s healthcare marketplace, or exchange, is the new way to shop for health insurance. But just how do you find the best coverage and sign up? Get answers here.
Each time you hop up on a doctor’s exam table, somebody makes a note in your medical records. There may come a time when you need your medical information, so find out how to get it and how it’s protected.
You might have more on your plate than most parents, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. Here’s how to ask for help and avoid caregiver burnout.
When kids know they’re “going to the doctor,” many become worried about the visit. Here’s how to help them.
Finding coverage for your kids may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Many kids are eligible for government or community programs, even if their parents work. Learn what resources are available to your family.
PCPs are health care providers that offer routine checkups, vaccines, and non-emergency medical care. Learn more about PCPs and how to choose a great one.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Involving teens in their health care can help prepare them for managing it on their own as adults.
Like learning to drive, figuring out health care is part of becoming an independent adult. Here are tips for teens on what that involves, and how to choose your own doctor.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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