How to Talk to your Child's Doctor
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?
The Doctor-Patient Relationship
Gone are the days of routine house calls and bartering livestock for health care and medicine. The current-day reality of insurance co-pays and crowded waiting rooms means relationships between doctors and patients have changed drastically.
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 take charge of their kids' care. In the past, parents may have known far less about their kids' health, growth, and development. In today's world, the health information that's readily available on the Internet, in bookstores, and on TV suggests that parents have the ability to 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 may be 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.
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