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Health Information For Parents
Your child’s doctor can be an incredible resource when you have questions and concerns about your child’s health, but finding time for regular checkups and sick visits may be a stretch for your already jam-packed schedule. The doctor may be overbooked and overscheduled, too, so making the most of your time together is important.
What are the best ways to communicate your concerns and questions? And how can you strengthen your relationship with the doctor who plays such an important role in your child’s health?
Today, doctors are pressured to see more patients in less time and to spend less time with each patient. Insurance issues, such as the need for referrals, complicate patient care for parents as well as doctors and their offices.
The increasing complexities of the health care system mean that parents have to play a more active role in their kids’ care. In the past, parents may have known far less about their kids’ health, growth, and development. Now, health information is readily available online, in bookstores, and on TV, letting parents be more informed than ever before. This is good news, because parents who actively participate in their kids’ health care help to ensure the best care possible.
In some cases, though, parents who do their own research may find incomplete or inaccurate medical and health information. Parents armed with stacks of printouts from unreliable Internet sources could find themselves at odds with a tense and frustrated doctor who doesn’t have time to agree or disagree with each piece of information.
Another common problem that may hinder a good relationship with your doctor is unrealistic expectations or an unwillingness to trust a doctor’s diagnosis or treatment of a minor illness. For example, many parents expect a drug or medicine for common colds, when a wait-and-see approach is often better. As a result, some doctors may feel pressured to give in to parental expectations for prescriptions or treatment, even when it’s not necessary or in the best interest of the child’s health.
Open communication and reasonable expectations are the key to building a better relationship with your child’s doctor.
What can you expect from your doctor? He or she should:
Your pediatrician, family doctor, or nurse practitioner can also help you with other children’s health issues, including exercise, nutrition, and weight issues; behavioral and emotional issues; how to cope with family issues, such as death, separation, and divorce; and how to understand and seek treatment for learning disabilities.
Good communication is a two-way street. You can aid communication by letting the doctor know that you trust him or her to care for your child. It’s good to ask questions, but let the doctor know that you want decisions, diagnoses, and prescriptions to be based on the best decision for the health of your child, not what’s easier for you or makes you feel better.
You should also be as prepared as possible with details during your doctor visits. When asked how your child is doing, be ready to share any concerns or ask any questions. It’s best to be specific. Be sure to tell the doctor details about symptoms — for instance, if your child vomited three times last night, had a temperature of 102°F (39°C), or is having diarrhea. This helps the doctor assess your child’s condition more readily and accurately than if you just say that “my child is sick.”
Consider jotting down your questions and concerns before the appointment so that you’ll remember everything you want to bring up. And if you’re worried about symptoms your child is having, mention them to the doctor even if he or she doesn’t ask. Tell the doctor what you’ve tried to make the symptoms better and what worked and what didn’t. The more information you provide, the better the doctor will be able to assess your child’s health.
Make the most of your relationship with the doctor (and the doctor’s office) by following these tips:
The stress of having a sick or hurt child can strain communication between doctors and parents, and the many issues covered in well-child visits may leave little room for your questions. But don’t hesitate to ask your doctor questions, no matter how insignificant you may think they are. Many times, problems with your child can be resolved easily with the help of the doctor.
And don’t be afraid to give the doctor feedback about your office visit experience, such as whether you felt rushed during the appointment or needed more information about a prescription or procedure. A good doctor will want to work with you to provide the best care possible for your child.
What are nurse practitioners, and how do they differ from medical doctors?
Because EHRs improve how well your doctors talk to each other and coordinate your treatment, they can enhance your medical care. Get the facts on electronic health records.
These age-specific guides can help you be prepared for and keep track of your well-child visits.
Doctors use growth charts to figure out whether kids’ height and weight measurements are “normal” and whether they’re developing on track. Here are some facts about growth charts.
When you go to the doctor for a checkup, it’s because your parents and your doctor want to see that you’re growing just the way you should. Read all about what happens at the doctor’s office.
You’re probably used to answering your doctor’s questions – not asking your own. But it’s your body, so you should be able to ask your doctor questions about anything you’d like. Here are some ideas to get you started.
You deserve medical care from someone who helps you feel comfortable and understood. 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.
Parents are likely to be stressed when a child is hospitalized, and questions about the people providing medical care and what roles they play can add to the confusion. Our guide can help.
Along with considering baby names andÂ buying a crib, choosing the right health care provider should be on your to-do list when you’re expecting.
You might be surprised to learn that not all physicians have the letters MD after their names. Some have the letters DO (doctor of osteopathy).
When kids know they’re “going to the doctor,” many become worried about the visit. Here’s how to help them.
Adolescent medicine doctors are specialists who have extra training in the medical and emotional issues that many teens face.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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