Four Tips for a Smooth Doctor’s Office Visit

Let’s be honest, sometimes going to the doctors office with children can be a little chaotic.

Our goal is that each office visit provides your family with the information to best care for your child, in the most stress-free way possible. Below are some tips for families with children of all ages to ensure a smooth office visit.

Come prepared!

For a well-child appointment, questionnaires can be printed off the Pediatrics Northwest website prior to the appointment. This will give you the time to reflect on the questions or make notes on items that you would like to discuss with the doctor.

If there are forms that you need to have completed, please give them to the medical assistant at the beginning of the visit.

Bringing age appropriate activities such as a book to read or homework can be helpful if there is a wait. If you are bringing multiple young children to an appointment, it can be helpful to have an extra set of adult hands to help with the children that are not being seen during the appointment.

For appointments with infants, remember disposable diaper bags and wipes. Expect the unexpected when it comes to how many diapers infants can go through at the doctor’s office!

Timing of the appointment

For a well-child visit, an appointment at the start of the day or beginning of the afternoon may reduce your wait time.

As pediatricians, we make a great effort to see your child the day they are ill or if you have a concern regarding your child (same day office visit). These same day office appointments will vary in length, depending on the extent of the injury or illness. We ask for your patience if there is a wait as we are making sure each child gets the care they need.

Other considerations in the timing of the appointment for a smooth office visit include: avoiding appointments during nap times or an appointment with a significant time restriction that may make you feel rushed and stressed.

If you are bringing multiple young children to an appointment, it can be helpful to have an extra set of adult hands to help with the children that are not being seen during the appointment!

Time allotment for the visit

Each patient is given time for age-specific workup, which includes vital signs and any other necessary tests. For well-child visits, there are ages that will have age-specific questionnaires or screening tests that will take additional time to complete, such as vision and hearing screening when they are due.

There also may be vaccinations due during a well-child visit or treatments given during an office visit for an ill child that may recommend  an additional observation period after the treatment is given.

The scheduling of same day office appointments are made with the specific concern it was scheduled for. If there are additional concerns raised during the visit, an additional appointment may need to be scheduled to address each concern.

For a new patient, additional questions on past history, allergy information, family history and medication information will be documented. An up to date immunization record at the time of the initial visit is helpful to have at that time.

Using notes

Sometimes it is not always possible for both parents to make their child’s appointment. We like to encourage the parent who cannot make the appointment, to send along a note with the questions they have, with the other parent. That way the other parent does not have to remember the questions, ask the doctor, and then translate the information back.

Moms and dads may have concerns about different things, so using a note is a simple way to ensure both parents have their concerns addressed.

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