What to Expect from Your First Visit to a Paediatrician
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Published by TOP4 Team
A paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in providing medical care to infants, young children and adolescents. There are general paediatricians as well as specialist ones such as paediatric cardiologists, development experts, etc.
If you are a new parent, it may be your first time to pay a visit to a paediatrician, under orders from your family doctor. While general physicians can competently manage several typical childhood illnesses, they may express concerns to the parents regarding your child's condition that may be more adequately addressed by a paediatrician. In such cases, your family doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialist.
There are two different methods for making an appointment with a paediatrician based on a referral:
A public referral is made by your family doctor; you are directed to a hospital outpatient clinic. You call the clinic to set your appointment and you see the paediatrician on duty at that particular time.
A private referral is made directly to a paediatrician instead of the hospital; setting the appointment is done by calling the specialist's own rooms.
The matter of costs will depend on the situation:
- If you have a Medicare card, you will not have to pay for anything when you visit a paediatrician in a hospital outpatient clinic.
- However, the fees of different private paediatricians will vary, so quite often you will still need to pay "out of pocket expenses."
- As you're making your appointment, be sure to ask what it will cost and how much you stand to get back from Medicare.
- If you visit a paediatrician without a referral from your family doctor, keep in mind that you will have to pay the full costs and will not receive a refund from Medicare.
What preparations will you need to make for your first appointment with the paediatrician?
It's ideal to have a simple written list that you can take with you to the appointment. It should contain the reason for your visit, your concerns for the health of your child, all the questions you want to ask, and the medications that your child is taking, along with the doses (include any complementary or alternative therapies). Having your child's health record booklet is also a must.
During the actual visit, be sure to write down anything important being said by the paediatrician, which you feel you may forget. And don't be shy about asking questions and clarifying things that you don't understand fully.
In the event that your child will need to be taken to the hospital after your initial visits, always provide the admitting clerk at the hospital with the name, address, and phone number of your paediatrician. And when it's time to go home, ask for a copy of your child's discharge summary, and also ask for another copy to be sent to your child's paediatrician.