Having to take your child to a pediatric specialist can be scary and overwhelming. Use these tips to find the right doctor and handle the situation with grace!
Have you ever stopped to think about how doctors have seen most people even before they’re born? Like how you’ve seen an obstetrician/gynecologist when you were still pregnant?
This goes to show how important medical and healthcare professionals are in keeping your family healthy. And this means knowing when to see a pediatric specialist.
Here’s a quick statistic to put things in perspective:
A 2015 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 93% of children met a healthcare professional in the past year.
As a parent, you only want what’s best for your child. This said you want to ensure your team of health caregivers also consists of a specialist.
How exactly do you go about finding one though?
To make the search easier, check out this list of the top tips to find the right specialist for your kids.
1. Does Your Child Need to See a Pediatric Specialist?
As a parent, it’s understandable that you constantly worry about your child’s well-being. But not all cases of colds actually warrant a specialist.
It’s for this reason that you should consult with a family physician first. Although they don’t have specializations, they still trained to provide accurate diagnosis and corresponding treatment for common childhood illnesses.
Aside from handling minor health problems, physicians can also deal with serious diseases.
In other words, they’re your first point of contact. And in case your child needs special services, they can refer you to the appropriate doctor.
2. Know the Most Common Specialists Seen for Children
Did you know that there are more than 150 health care specialties and subspecialties?
That’s right. There are many kinds of doctors, and it’s comforting to know that they specialize in every imaginable component of human health.
At the same time, this makes it more challenging to search for the right pediatric specialist when the need arises.
As such, knowing which type of doctor is best for your kid’s needs is the first crucial step. Below we list the most commonly-visited doctors for children’s specialized health care needs.
These doctors focus on treating disorders of the immune system. For instance, if your child has asthma, allergies (food, insect sting, pollen, etc.), or eczema, this is the kind of doctor you’d want to see.
Behavioral pediatricians have in-depth understanding and knowledge of developmental and learning disabilities in children. They deal with children suffering from emotional trauma and anxiety issues.
Keep in mind though that they aren’t automatically psychiatrists/psychologists. They will, however, refer you to the appropriate mental health care professional if need be.
ENT Doctors (Ears, Nose, and Throat)
These specialists focus on disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. For instance, if your child suffers from an ear disease, such as earaches, hearing impairment, infection, or trauma, then you should take him/her to a pediatric hearing doctor.
They also specialize in rhinology (nose and sinuses), laryngology (voice box and GERD problems), as well as allergies (sinusitis, rhinitis, respiratory infections, hay allergies, etc.).
A neonatologist is a pediatric specialist with a focus on premature babies and newborns with critical illnesses. They treat conditions such as congenital abnormalities and life-limiting, even life-threatening prematurity.
Other Children’s Health Specialists
There are also pediatric cardiologists, pulmonologists, and rheumatologists among many other types of pediatric specialists. So, as you can see, it all boils down to the specific needs of your child.
3. Recommendations and Research
Once you figure out the exact kind of specialist you need, it’s time for the research.
Recommendations from family and trusted friends and colleagues can help. And for the most part, this can also prove reassuring.
In case no one in your personal network has experience with the specific kind of doctor you need, the next best step is to check with your health insurance company.
Your insurer can provide you a list of the specialists included in their network coverage, as well as insight on their doctor’s fees and other charges. Checking with the insurance company also lets you determine each doctor’s standard measures of quality.
4. Don’t Forget Potential Out-of-Pocket Costs
Your child’s health and well-being are a top priority. Equally important though, is your budget.
This is especially true when it comes to out-of-pocket costs. Many parents tend to forget that their insurance may not cover all costs.
For instance, in 2014, parents made personal payments towards children’s healthcare services averaging at $472 per child.
This may seem small a price to pay for ensuring your child’s health. But it still has a large impact on your household, so it pays to find out how affordable the rates of a pediatric specialist are.
5. Location is Critical
It’s best that you keep your team of pediatric health professionals local. This way, you can rest easy knowing that if your child gets sick, you can easily contact the right doctor. Working with local pediatricians and specialists can also make a huge difference during emergency situations.
And when it comes to your child, you can’t afford delays in seeing a doctor in times of emergency.
Once you’re done with step 5, you most likely have narrowed your list.
So, the next thing to do is to conduct research on each prospect. Take a closer look at their credentials.
Do they have board certifications? What exactly are the cases they have successfully treated?
While most doctors have a long list of accomplishments to brag about, not all of them have experienced first-hand serious conditions in children.
7. Set the Appointment Up
Contact the pediatric specialist to for an initial consultation. But before you head to the doctor’s office, you want to list down the most important factors to look for.
These include the facilities, the staff, and the behavior of other patients. Do they look relaxed under the circumstances? How long does it take before a patient gets to see the doctor?
All these are important things to look for in any kind of doctor. Their clinic reflects their practice, so you’ll learn a lot during the first consultation.
8. You Always Have the Choice of a Second Opinion
You want to find the right pediatric specialist for your child ASAP. But sometimes, this means seeking a second, even third opinion. So, as a final reminder, feel free to see another doctor in case any reservations arise from your first choice.
Need to further expand your practical knowledge of children’s health? Then you should visit our blog. It’s full of useful tips that you should include in your parenting arsenal.