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Get a head start on your family’s care now

| Healthy You | Wellness

Doctor examines hand of young boy

Beat the “back-to-school” rush by making appointments soon.

Does it feel like kids just got out of school? 

Believe it or not, now could be the perfect time to get them in to the doctor’s office before the next school year starts.

School physicals, sports physicals and vaccinations can all happen now. 

Some clinics see a bit of a slowdown during the summer because cold and flu season has typically died down. Your provider’s schedule might also have a few more openings than usual because other patients are away on vacation or just out enjoying the weather.

Plus many families’ schedules have more leeway in the summer. With potentially more relaxed workdays, longer daylight hours or fewer obligations, it might be easier for you to find appointment times that wouldn’t usually work for you at other times of the year.

Even if this isn’t a leisurely season for you and even if your child’s doctor is as busy as ever, calling now is the best way to ensure that you are able to have your child seen sooner than later. 

Planning ahead can help reduce the stress might feel about getting medical care. And it gives you and your child time to do what you need to make the most of the visit. 

Here are some handy tips to prepare for your child’s check-up:

  • Talk to your child.  Prepare your child appropriately, depending on their age and personality. It’s good to involve them so they feel part of the process. Help your child focus on the positive aspect of seeing their doctor. Do what you can to put them at ease if they’re worried about getting a shot.
  • Plan to bring:
    • Concerns about current conditions. Jot down symptoms or concerns to review. Note the basics, such as when symptoms started, how long they last, whether anything makes them go away and if they’ve gotten worse.
      • Physical – e.g., limping, complaints about pain, moles, etc. 
      • Mental – e.g., changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, moodiness, etc.
    • Questions about:
      • Immunizations. Review your child’s vaccination record and verify with the provider which boosters your child might need, including the COVID-19 shot for patients over six months old. If your child has been seen by a PeaceHealth provider, look for the shot record in My PeaceHealth. Otherwise, check with your state’s immunization system (Alaska, Oregon, Washington). 
      • Things to watch. Annual visits are a great way for parents and providers to compare notes on development milestones. Your provider can help you understand what’s typical for a given age or stage and what, if anything, to do differently with your child. 
    • Toys, books or other distractions. You might ask if your child wants to bring a favorite stuffed animal or a drawing to share with the doctor or care team.
    • Medication list. Your child’s provider will likely ask you to verify any medications or supplements your child is taking. It’s helpful to have the list handy, including the strength (e.g., 500 mg) and dosage (e.g., one pill twice a day) of each med.
  • Ask the most important questions first. Depending on the length of your visit, you might not have time to ask everything you want. Also, encourage your kiddo to ask questions. That helps your child get used to speaking up about their own body.
  • Use My PeaceHealth. If your child is under 12, you can use My PeaceHealth, the online tool for managing medical care at PeaceHealth.
    • Before your appointment, complete any questionnaires your child’s provider sends and check in online ahead of time. This can make your visit go faster and smoother.
    • After your visit, review the after-visit-summary. If you have any follow-up questions, you can send a secure message to the doctor or care team.

Note:  Masks are still required in healthcare settings per the CDC and state health department guidelines. PeaceHealth continues to practice safety measures to keep patients, visitors and our communities safe.

Making an appointment earlier than later can help you avoid some of the stress of going back to school and ensure your child is set up for success. 

When you’re ready, schedule an appointment with a PeaceHealth provider to get your child in for immunizations, their annual exam or sports physical.