As you work with doctors who are meant to bring you, your child, and your family a little peace of mind and hopefully a better understanding of what’s going on, frustration can take over. Even the most basic actions and responses take time to yield results, and the waiting period can leave much to be desired. If you can learn how to advocate for your child at the doctor’s, you may be able to make headway that allows you to breathe easier.
Doctors Are Resources; You’re the Parent
At the first sign of an abnormality or issue with our children, we turn to doctors. Though medical professionals have a lot of answers and can help us understand a diagnosis or establish speculation of issues, the things they say will be more objective than geared toward individual cases. Keep in mind that doctors are resources—meant to make recommendations. What they say should be respected but not revered. You’re the one who needs to put the subjective spin on what they say and decide what the next best step is for you and your child.
When preparing for appointments with medical professionals, take time ahead to make notes of what you want to know before you exit the office. Communicate effectively and assertively while keeping in mind what you need to understand prior to parting. Ask all your questions so you have a clearer understanding of what the big picture looks like. You want to ensure that the time spent with the doctor was intentionally guided, so you are not left with inquiries upon departure.
Being an advocate for your child means that you know them best. Your child is your top priority, not the medical professional’s, insurance company’s, or equipment suppliers’. When dealing with people or being promised a response, ask for names, take notes, and date them. Follow up on everything. Resist showing your frustration when handling matters of importance, but be persistent and call frequently. Don’t budge on issues until you can come to an agreement on a resolution.
Make a Decision and Go With It
It may often feel as if there aren’t clear answers when it comes to the questions you have. Regardless, you still need to make decisions regarding therapies, medications, or actions that you will take following the information you get from a medical professional. For example, given your child’s diagnosis, a doctor may recommend hippotherapy to improve physical and cognitive impairments. No matter what they recommend, it’s up to you—as the parent—to look more into a doctor’s suggestions and learn more about them. At the end of the day, being your child’s advocate means you are the ultimate deciding factor. You are not responsible for every possible outcome, but you are responsible for taking the next step. It won’t be easy, but you’ll always know you did what you could.
There is much to learn when it comes to how to advocate for your child at the doctor’s. Understanding that the doctor’s role is to give you the information they have in order to help guide you into your next steps will allow you to take control of a situation. Your child is your charge, and you decide how to use the material you’re provided to be as supportive as possible.