As a new parent, you try to make sure your child gets enough sleep, is well nourished, and sees a doctor for regular check-ups. If you are like many parents, your primary concern has been your child’s health, starting the moment you found out you were pregnant. And as a new parent, now may be the time to think about healthcare in a whole new light.
Creating a partnership with your child’s healthcare practitioner is one of the most effective ways to ensure your child receives the best care their doctor has to offer. And the easiest way to do this is to get involved.
You know your child’s body and temperament better than anyone and you have the ability to provide the most useful information to assist doctors in both diagnosing and caring for your child. For example, providing the practitioner with detailed symptoms, an indication as to when a symptom began, what made it worse and what treatments were provided at home will provide the practitioner with important clues to a child’s illness.
How to Work With Your Child’s Paediatrician
Here are some simple tools you can use to make sure you and your child’s doctor are working together:
- If your child is ill, document detailed symptoms. The more accurate the information you can provide your doctor, the better care he or she can provide your child. Make sure to note things like: the time at which you took your child’s temperature, what you think may have caused the illness (for example, did your child eat a new food, come into contact with another person who was ill, etc.), the symptoms that alerted you to the illness, and whether or not home treatments made the symptoms better.
Questions for the Paediatrician
- Start a list of questions. Write them down as you think of them so they’ll be there when you’re rushing out of the house for your next doctor’s visit. Even if your appointment isn’t for a few months, your questions may still be relevant.
- Prioritize your questions and ask the most important ones first in case you run out of time. Be prepared to book additional visits if needed.
- Prior to your visit, equip yourself with additional information. Do some research, but be careful not to self-diagnose – you may inadvertently miss giving the healthcare practitioner important information that may lead to a different conclusion.
- Make sure you record your doctor’s instructions and treatment programs. It is often difficult to remember details from your practitioner if you are trying to dress your child or calm a crying baby, following the examination. You can even ask your doctor to write them down for you!
- Make sure you fully understand what the doctor has told you. Don’t be afraid to clarify instructions.
- If you have any concerns, no matter how large or small, contact your healthcare practitioner. Don’t think you are being paranoid – you’re being a parent!
Don’t be afraid to be proactive. Get involved in your child’s healthcare. By taking an active role, you are doing your part to ensure your child gets the best care your doctor has to offer.
Jana Sinclair is a mom and one of three Calgary women who founded b.l.i.s. (because life is special) inc.