- Ask other families for their recommendations.
- Contact a support group or disability organization for recommendations.
- Ask the clinic about the provider’s knowledge and experience with your child’s specific needs.
- Ask potential providers about their views on parents being present for treatments and taking a shared role in decision making.
- Seek providers with whom you and your child feel comfortable and who you feel will understand your family’s customs and culture.
- Answering questions
- Sharing decision-making
- Communicating with other professionals
- Coordinating care for your child
- Providing resources and finding out how well they worked
- Building bridges among families and health, education, and social services
- Developing comprehensive plans of care that address your individual child’s needs
- Developing plans for emergencies
- Monitoring, updating, and following-up on care
- Respecting your values and culture
- Promoting health and quality of life for your child and family
- Your child's doctor writes a prescription for chewable antibiotics, but your child has a hard time with chewables. Tell the clinician that your child has had problems with chewables in the past, and ask if there are any alternatives. You may also ask the doctor to document in his record that chewables are not a good option. That way, anyone looking at his record in the future will also be alerted.
- You have received a third letter from your health insurance denying payment for services you know should be covered. Take a deep breath and call the insurance company. Explain to them, "I have a bill and a denial in front of me. Can you help me figure out exactly where the problem is?" By appealing to the person on the other end of the phone, rather than getting angry, you have a better chance of getting to the root of the problem. Ask your doctor's office staff for help, too - they may even call the insurance company on your behalf. Sometimes the problem is the doctor's use of an incorrect procedure code or a diagnosis code that is not recognized by the insurance company.
- Your child has just been scheduled to have blood drawn for the second time in one week. First, remember that the doctor may not know or be able to remember all of the details immediately, but that you are there to remind her. "Did you know he already had some tests done this week? Can we get any of the information you need from previous tests? Or can we combine them with the tests his other doctor has just requested?" Talk with your doctor's office about scheduling appointments and tests together to save travel time. Often the nurse or the administrative staff can be very helpful. And ask your doctor to try to communicate with other involved doctors. It may be possible to coordinate lab tests in order to avoid duplication and to reduce your travel time.
- The doctor has quickly written a prescription for a medicine you know is extremely expensive. Let the clinician know that it is really expensive and ask if there is a generic brand that could be prescribed instead, or ask if they have any samples you can take home. You can also call your pharmacist for help - sometimes there isn't a less expensive option, but often there are alternatives. There are also financial assistance plans for certain situations. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Families Partnering with Providers
Tips to help families build effective partnerships with their child's health care providers, Family Voices 2007.
Family/Caregiver Survey, CMHI
A survey for family/caregiver to assess the quality of pediatric health care, by the Center for Medical Home Improvement (CMHI).
How to Partner with Your Physician (AAP)
Provides background information, links, and other resources, from the American Academy of Pediatrics' National Center for Medical Home Implementation.
Family-Centered Care Self-Assessment Tool
Provides an opportunity for reflection and quality improvement activities related to family-centered care, for families and for healthcare providers to assess care for all children and youth, and also has some questions that are specific to the needs of children and youth with special health care needs and their families. Developed by Family Voices
Family-Centered Care Assessment for Families (FCCA-F) ( 242 KB)
A survey to measure the quality of family-centered care that a health care provider gives to a child and family; for pediatricians to give to families. Developed by Family Voices