Making the most of your child’s medical exam takes a little preparation. When visiting a new medical provider, you not only have to reassure your child, but you also need to make sure the provider truly understands your child and his or her needs. You can take a few easy steps to make sure that you are prepared to do both.
Understand Why You are Visiting the Provider
New medical professionals are sometimes frightening to a child. If you understand why you are visiting this new person, you may be able to better explain it to your child. You can either ask your referring professional or reach out to the new provider. You’ll need to know if the new provider is a specialist. If you don’t understand what the provider actually does, you can consult an online list that shows you the provider’s specialty. You’ll also want to understand why your child was referred to this provider, if he or she was. Knowing what you hope to gain from the visit to the provider will also let you explain the need for the visit to your child.
Provide a Relevant Medical History
One provider suggests you prepare a list of medications, changes in daily activity, and sleep patterns. You should also list a history of the problem and any pain your child may be having. List any additional life changes that may be happening around your child. Have you recently moved? Has Mom or Dad changed jobs? Has your child started to attend a different school?
In addition to your lists, you’ll want to make sure to bring any related test results. Bring x-rays or lab results that may impact the decisions that the medical provider may need to make. If you have additional diagnosis or information from other providers, you’ll need to bring those as well.
Communicate Effectively with the Provider
A government publication speaks to effective communication with your doctor, “Asking the right questions-and obtaining quality information about prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery-help ensure safety, prevent errors, and improve health.” Make sure you bring your lists. And, bring another list. This list will be your list of questions. What are you hoping to learn from this provider? Having the questions written down will ensure that you don’t forget them. It will also help you to keep yourself organized. You could jot notes about the provider’s answers by the questions so that you can remember what was said.
Additionally, you may want to have a trusted friend or family member accompany both you and your child to see the new provider. Put them in charge of the questions list, if you’d rather focus on your child and his or her interactions with the provider.
Following these three steps will make the appointment with your new health care provider run so much more smoothly. Both you and your child will be more at ease because of your preparation, and the provider will be able to better help your child. The preparations you make are definitely worthwhile.