The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

June 28, 2014

Medical homes matter for kids

RICHMOND — “The lion ate him!” the two-year-old boy exclaimed to his father.

The father smiled and said, “Yes, that’s what happened in the story we read last night.”

Young children often say things that are out of context which leaves most adults befuddled as to what a child is talking about. The only adults that will understand are those who have spent time with the child and can fill in the context.

A similar situation occurs for doctors when they see children at their practices.

Doctors who have a long-established relationship with a child and his family can make sense of issues beyond a child’s immediate health concerns. This can lead to better care and allows doctors to catch seemingly minor health issues before they become more serious concerns.

This diagnostic advantage disappears when a child’s health care is spread out among various providers who do not communicate with each other. This is why it is important for parents to establish a medical home for their children.

A medical home is the primary place where a child’s health needs are met. Typically a medical home for a child is established with a pediatrician. A pediatrician can keep track of the child's medical history including illnesses, injuries, physicals, and immunizations.

Based on this information, pediatricians can effectively coordinate with other professionals such as allergists, psychologists and other medical specialists to ensure that a child’s needs are being met. This also increases the effectiveness of the treatments as services are not duplicated and follow-up services are more likely to occur.

The medical home begins to break down when a child gets “minor” services such as immunizations or physicals from other providers, and the pediatrician is consulted only for more “major” medical concerns. The problem comes when a “major” issue occurs, and the pediatrician is unaware of whether a child has received a particular immunization which could influence the course of treatment.

Not only does a medical home establish a centralized place for care, children can establish a positive relationship with their pediatricians. Children typically enjoy being in settings that they are familiar with and with people who they have had positive experiences.

Although a visit to a physical can seem like a “minor” service, it provides a chance for the pediatrician to find out a child’s interests and any concerns they might have. This can make it easier in calming a child down when he is feeling sick or injured later on.

A final point about medical homes is that they can serve as a touchstone for children and adolescents as they grow up.

Other than their families, children have some of their longest relationships with their pediatricians. In some cases, the pediatricians may be in the child’s life from birth through adultdood. Children don’t have many such relationships in their lives.

Parents should make an effort to establish a medical home for their children. The on-going relationship and the increased effectiveness of health services is worth the effort.

Dan Florell, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University and has a private practice, MindPsi Praveena Salins, M.D., is a pediatrician at Madison Pediatric Associates

Text Only
Lifestyles & Community
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

What county fair attraction do you like most?

Amusement rides
Beauty pageants
Flora Hall craft exhibits
Horse shows
Livestock, poultry shows
Truck, tractor pulls
Mud, dirt races
Gospel sing
I like them all
     View Results