Dr. Ashley McClary, a pediatrician at McDowell Pediatrics in Marion, offers expert advice on getting the most out of your relationship with your child’s medical provider, as seen in WNC Parent.
Let’s face it, going to the doctor’s office can be a whirlwind. You try to remember everything you wanted to ask and everything that was said – all while caring for your sick child or distracting your rambunctious four year old. Visiting the pediatrician is not everyone’s favorite task, but there are actions that you can take to make a visit to your child’s pediatrician less stressful. These tips can also strengthen the patient-provider relationship.
First, consider writing down the questions or symptoms you want to discuss. You may only have 15 minutes to spend with a provider during a well child visit, so having a list will make sure all your concerns were addressed. Include any particular diagnosis you are worried about. Many times we hear from friends, family or see on the Internet certain diseases that worry us. If your pediatrician doesn’t know this is a worry for you, he or she may not even address it. There are no silly questions.
Secondly, bring your child’s medical information. For example, consider bringing a list of your child’s prescriptions, allergies and any medical problems. If you have information from teachers or other providers that may be helpful, bring this as well. As a bonus tip, there are smartphone apps that can help you keep track of medications, immunizations and more. Knowing exactly what medicines your child is taking and his or her history will not only ensure an accurate diagnosis but also avoid inadvertent side effects.
Finally, take notes and ask questions. Your doctor could recommend treatments, medicines, tests, referrals, follow up, etc. This is a lot to remember. Writing down any diagnosis mentioned and next steps is a great way to make sure you won’t forget by the time you get home. If there is anything you aren’t clear on, don’t be afraid to ask.
Remember, there are no silly questions. If there are tests or referrals being recommended, ask when you should expect results. Follow up if you haven’t heard from your provider by the expected timeframe. Additionally, make sure the clinic has your best contact information. As many clinics have online portals, consider asking your provider how she or he prefers to communicate after the visit.
Having medical concerns about your child is always stressful. Hopefully, these tips can help alleviate some of that stress. Who knows, maybe you’ll even enjoy going to see your pediatrician.
Dr. Ashley McClary is a pediatrician at McDowell Pediatrics in Marion.