11 Easy Tips You Must Read Before You Book Your Next Paediatrician Appointment
As a mum to two boys I’ve a lot of experience taking my kids to see Paediatricians and Specialist Doctors many a times. Both my boys first saw a Paediatrician when they were just 6 weeks old. From there on they’ve been seeing a Paediatrician regularly on a 6 monthly basis. In addition to this, they’ve seen other Specialist Doctors when needed. Over the years I’ve become quite a pro at navigating the tricky business of making appointments and making the most of these Paediatric consultations. If you’re a new mum or it’s your first time taking your child to be seen by a Paediatrician then this list of tips will come in super handy. These tips will have you organised and in control. You’ll know what to expect and what to prepare for. You’d be able to make the most of the limited time you get with a Paediatrician.
Scheduling the appointment:
1). Timing of the appointment - Try and make the appointment earlier on in the day. So, the chances of the Paediatrician running late and you having to wait around with a restless bub or toddler is reduced. Where possible ask for the first appointment of the day.
2). For urgent appointments - If you need to see a Pediatrition or Specialist Doctor earlier than the available times. Stress the urgency of your appointment to the medical receptionist. You can also ask to be placed on a cancelation wait list. This way you’ll be called if someone else cancels their appointment. Cancelations happen often. If the matter is urgent, I highly recommend that you do this.
3). Do not book on on-call days - Paediatricians have what is referred to as on-call days. These are days where they can be called on for emergencies eg: emergency C-section delivery. It is normal for the Paediatrician to schedule their routine appointment during these on-call days. Emergencies happen and they are unplanned and sometimes this might take half an hour, and on others much longer. There is no way of predicting how long for certain. If your appointment is on an on-call day you may be expected to wait whist the Paediatrician attends to the emergency. If your appointment is not urgent request for an appointment on a NON on-call day. This way you will not have to wait around for too long.
4). Validity of your referral – When seeing a Paediatrician or a Specialist Doctor you will require a referral from you GP. These referrals are valid for ONLY a few months if given by another Specialist Doctor. At the time of making the appointment check the validity of your referral. You may need a new referral if the old one has expired. Make sure to take the referral with you on the day of the Paediatrician consultation.
Making the most of the consultation:
5). Keep track of symptoms - Take any other supporting documents like X-rays, scans, hearing tests, food diary, health diary, photos, child health book, medicare card, insurance details and medical records with you.
6). What to ask - Write a list of questions that you’d like to ask the Paediatrician. You have a limited time in which to ask all the questions. You might forget something important. If you’ve got a list of questions handy you can always refer to this and tick off as you go.
7). Medication prescribed by another Doctor - If your child is on medication prescribed by different Doctor, always take details of this medication with you. It’s important to have the dosage information handy. I’d recommend taking the actual medication or a photo on your phone showing the dosage information.
8). Entertainment - Always take toys, pens, iPad, change of clothes, water and snack with you so you can entertain your little one if there is a delay. I always have these things organised neatly inside by bag with the use of The Last Berry Bag Organiser Set so I know where everything is.
9). Getting there - Often times it’s really difficult to find parking near big hospitals. Make sure to arrive a bit ahead of time. Also make account for traffic conditions etc. Some big hospitals are tricky to navigate. Finding the actual rooms may seem like navigating a maze. The last thing you’d want is to arrive late or arrive flustered like contestants from the Amazing Race.
10). Staying focused - Stay focused when the Paediatrician is giving you advice. Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed by the new information. If it’s too hard to remember write it down on a note pad. Ask for the correct spelling of the diagnosis, treatments and medication. If something was not clearly explained ask the Paediatrician to explain this again. Make the sure you make the most of the expertise. You’ll not get another opportunity of speak with this Paediatrician again unless you specifically arrange for it.
11). Schedule your next appointment - Make sure to place an appointment for your next visit before you leave. This is important where there is a big gap between visits. The Paediatrician may be away for long periods time on annual leave, etc and might not be available when the next appointment falls due. So it’s always best to make your next appointment before you leave.