By A Aaronson
If you are considering whether to choose a family doctor or pediatrician for your kids, you should know there are some pros and cons of both choices. The final decision should depend on your own preferences and circumstances. Here are some tips on making this important decision.
What many people like about a family doctor is that the entire household can get medical care from the same practice. If you like knowing that you, your spouse, and children all see the same medical staff for both sick and well visits, you will probably be happy with this choice. This is especially the case if you have been going to the same practice for years and feel very comfortable with the staff already. Plus, you already know the policies of the office and should have all your medical records there anyway, so now your children can enjoy the same convenience for years.
Before you decide to have your children go to a family doctor, make sure the practice has the same convenience for young patients as most pediatricians have. For example, weekend or evening hours are nice for when kids get sick and need a quick appointment in order to get a diagnosis and prescription when necessary. Also, make sure the practice is aware of when to schedule well-child appointments, especially if you have babies or toddlers who will need to get frequent checkups and vaccinations the first few years of life. Of course, for this reason, you should also make sure the office is close to your house since you will be going there more often with your kids than you have been as an adult.
You should also make sure the family doctor you currently see is comfortable with treating younger patients. Most doctors do treat them, but not regularly, and therefore the office is missing child-sized medical equipment. It might also simply not have a child-friendly waiting room, so look into this unless you are comfortable bringing toys and books for your little ones at every appointment. You can ask the practitioner how often he or she sees younger patients, or simply look around during your next few visits to see for yourself how frequently kids visit the office.
If it seems clear that your family doctor is not prepared to treat children on a regular basis, you might want to look into pediatricians in your city. You can always switch the kids back to your current practitioner once they get older. But if you are still not sure what the right decision is, consider setting up one or two visits for your children at the practice you go to so you can see firsthand how everything goes.
Are you looking for a family doctor? New Orleans residents go to West Jefferson Medical Center for their medical concerns. For more informaiton about the hospital and their services, please visit http://wjmc.org.
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Deciding Whether Your Kids Need a Family Doctor or Pediatrician
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