While you are trying to gather yourself after the recent health concerns of your child, you may ask, “what is a pediatric rheumatologist and how do I find one.” Please don’t be surprised if there is only a handful in your state as the total number of pediatric rheumatologist is about 200 nationwide and unfortunately there are still 10 states with no pediatric rheumatologist. For military families, WRNMMC is the only MTF with full time pediatric rheumatology clinical services. You are welcome to call for advise on finding civilian resources and for a list of providers in your area.
Teaming Up With Your Healthcare Team, How to Get Ready for Your Clinic Visit, and What to Do Between Visits
Please bear in mind that your physician needs to help several families like yours. To get the best out of your visit time, we suggest to:
- Come Prepared
- If you are a new patient, bring all your previous medical information pertinent to current health concern. This may include letters, lab results, x-ray reports and even better the CD copy of imaging studies, biopsy reports, list of names and contact information on physicians involved in the care.
- Write down the sequence of events in a chronological order. I suggest take a calendar and try to remember all the details: i.e. when the pain started, what type, how severe, when during the day or night, how long did it last, the frequency, the nature of pain, was there a fever or rash; keep as much detail as possible.
- Sometimes the concerns might have been going on for several years. Please focus on what really is most important to discuss in a 30-minute time. You may want to list your top 3 concerns.
- Bring the list of medications that your child is taking and make a note if you need refills.
- Talk to your child to reduce fear. Explain what physical exam and labs may be needed. If you are a follow up, a rheumatology exam is usually done without requiring change of clothes. It would be great for the patient to wear loose comfortable clothes such as t-shirt and sweat pants in winter or regular shorts in summer so we can examine the joints easily.
- Bring some snacks or magazine with you. Please spare few extra hours to be spent in the clinic, as there might be some delays.
- Summary: The checklist for what you need to bring:
- Diary, Medical Records
- Loose Clothes
- List of Medications
- Contact Info for PT, School, Counselor, etc.
- Ask Questions
- Ask how much he/she is worried about your child’s health that is called PHYSICIAN GLOBAL ASSESSMENT
- Ask specifics on what he/she would like you to do until next visit
- Ask instructions on how, when and if you should contact the office
- Keep a Diary
- It is very helpful to keep a diary between the visits; this can be a simple wall calendar or on an excel sheet. Ask your physician what to look for and what to watch in your diary.
- Comply with Treatment and Follow-ups
- Please make sure your child takes all prescribed medications and follows through all the consults and instructions in a timely mater. It can be cumbersome to schedule visits if you need multidisciplinary care. If there is overwhelming trouble to arrange visits, you may ask help from the physician office, but please be sensitive in your request. Please remember your physician and his/her staff has multiple tasks and very limited time.