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Advocating for your child’s medical care

As a parent, seeing your child sick or injured can be worse than having the concern yourself. While you may have health care professionals all around you, you may feel helpless about getting your child the care they need.

Some doctors and other health professionals can seem intimidating. Although you know your child best, it can be challenging to have a conversation where you disagree with an expert. Those disagreements, however, can be the difference between diagnosis and misdiagnosis, and, ultimately, a life-saving treatment.

Here are a few tips for advocating for your child while they are in the hospital.

Keep your own records

When everyone who comes into your child’s room has some method for taking notes, it may feel redundant to take notes yourself.

The one aspect the medical personnel cannot capture in their notes is your perspective. Their records may be more objective, but yours will, more likely, include your interpretation of how it will apply to you and your child.

When your notes include you and your child’s perspective, it can help you remember what you need to mention to another member of your child’s health care team. Your notes can also be helpful when it comes time to care for your child after release.

Communicate with your child

Children can be unreliable reporters of their symptoms. With a room full of gadgets that will monitor their statistics, it can be tempting to dismiss your child’s comments.

There are some symptoms that only a patient can communicate, and others might be too slight to register on electronic monitors. Talk to your child about how they are feeling and whether anything has changed.

Your child can let you know treatment is working or that something new is going on. You may be the critical link that can communicate that information to your child’s medical team.