Talking with a physician isn’t always easy. When your child’s health is in question, your thoughts may lie elsewhere or you may even feel intimidated by a rush of unfamiliar medical terms. Use these points to help you collect your thoughts and make the most of your time with your pediatrician.

When talking with your child’s doctor, don’t remain silent if you don’t understand something. Unless you speak up, the doctor may assume you understand.

Before Your Visit

  • Start preparing for the visit. Identify your concerns and be prepared to discuss them. It’s helpful to write down your questions before your appointment — that way you won’t forget them.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask follow-up questions until you’re comfortable with your understanding of the situation.
  • Take notes and write down any answers and instructions given by your child’s doctor.
  • Remember to follow any instructions given by your child’s doctor about eating and drinking before admission.

General Questions to Help You Talk with Your Child's Doctor

Specifics

  • Do you have any written or printed information I can use to learn more about my child’s health needs?
  • Is there a website you can recommend?

Treatment

  • What will be done while my child is in the hospital?
  • Who can answer questions about my child’s care during this time?
  • How long will test results take and how can I learn about the results?
  • Do I need to schedule a follow-up appointment after my child is discharged?
  • What can I do to help my child's treatment/hospital stay be successful?

Medications

  • What is the name of the medicine? What will it do?
  • Will it affect my child’s allergies or interact with other medications?
  • How should I give the medication? At what time each day? With or without food? If the medication is liquid, what is the best way to measure a dose?
  • How long should my child continue taking the medication?
  • When should I expect to see an improvement?
  • Are there any side effects? What do I do if my child has one?
  • Should my child avoid any food, drink or activities while taking the medicine?

Support

  • Do you know of any other local or Internet-based resources for help?
  • Are there any support groups where I can connect with other families?

When talking with your child’s doctor, don’t remain silent if you don’t understand something. Unless you speak up, the doctor may assume you understand. Asking questions until you understand will help you and your child. Be sure to write down instructions fully.

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