The following article is sponsored by Shriners Hospitals for Children.
The healthcare system can be difficult to navigate for anyone. When it’s your child receiving the medical care, it can evoke even more concerns. Beyond wanting world-class medical care with trusted professionals, you may feel more protective about everything and everyone interacting with your child. Keep these six helpful tips in mind when choosing quality care for your child.
- Look for a family-centered care approach
When your child is going through the medical system, it’s not just happening to the child, it’s happening to the entire family – especially if your child has a condition requiring continuous care. A good children’s hospital will help you look at how your child’s medical condition will affect the whole family, offer guidance and suggest how the whole family can make the necessary adjustments.
- Take the time to find the right specialist for your child
Pediatricians are integral to pediatric care. Additionally, some conditions require advanced training. For example, if your child has an orthopaedic condition, you should seek out a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.
Theresa Hennessey, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Salt Lake City who runs the weekly clubfoot clinic points out, “It is not unusual that children come into the clinic having not been helped or even been made worse from the work of a physician who was not familiar with the management of a condition. While I know they do the best with the knowledge they have, a generalist may not have the training or exposure to treat the conditions we see day-in and day-out.” There is plenty of research that shows treatment will be better quality with fewer complications if you are treated at a hospital and by a physician with greater experience in that specific condition.
- Ensure you have access to the latest in technology
As advancements are made in medicine, this can mean less time in the hospital and shorter recovery times from surgeries and other procedures. It can also mean connecting you to a specialist in another city or country. Telehealth, an up-and-coming service at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Salt Lake City will allow the hospital’s pediatric orthopaedic experts to have clinical visits with kids throughout the Intermountain West without the specialists or children having to travel long distances.
- Prioritize an experienced surgery team
It is important to be familiar with your Operation Room (OR) team before your child undergoes surgery. While the expertise and credentials of the surgeon are certainly important, she’s in a room full of professionals that play important roles. The OR is composed of surgeons, registered nurses, surgical assistants, surgical technicians and anesthesiologists all playing different and important roles. A good OR team will have a few years under their belt working together. Add this question to the list of questions you ask your surgeon: “Tell me about the OR team.”
- Take advantage of Recreation Therapists and Child Life Specialists who breathe fun into the hospital experience
The Child Life Specialists at children’s hospitals help kids understand procedures, medical language, and talk to them at their level, keeping things light and even playful. Take time to get to know the child-life specialist assigned to your child. They have a wealth of knowledge, and their job is to be there for your whole family.
The Recreation Therapist is not found at every children’s hospital, but if it’s possible to find one that does, depending on your child’s condition, this will be huge in your child’s recovery and adjustment in their day-to-day life. The expertise and creative ideas a Recreation Therapist can offer will help you and your child remember that recreation is important to child development, and having fun is so therapeutic!
- Find a dedicated space for kids to be kids
A good children’s hospital will have been designed with activity space with kids in mind. Sometimes your kid just needs to get out of the hospital room and be in a space that doesn’t feel like a hospital. This space can be great for the whole family to play.
To learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children – Salt Lake City, click here.