We’re back again with another reminder of the tremendous importance of Well Care visits for your children! Remember, well-child care visits help us to ensure health and happiness for your children, which is extra important during this time of COVID-19. We are taking extensive precautions to make our offices safe during COVID, and we have the utmost confidence in the safe environment we’ve created. Now, we’ve covered well-child care visits in some detail in past blogs on our website, but it never hurts to emphasize the really important things. So here we go!
Well Care Visits: When and Why?
According to guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your child’s first well-child care visit should occur, in your doctor’s office, when your baby is 3-5 days old, after leaving the hospital. Additional well care visits are recommended at the following ages: 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months, 3 years of age and then annually thereafter until age 21.
Well-child care visits are so important because they provide these benefits :
- Prevention. During well care visits, your child gets the opportunity to receive scheduled immunizations to prevent potentially life threatening &/or severe illnesses. Such visits also provide an opportunity to ask your pediatrician about nutrition and safety in the home and at school.
- Tracking growth and development. You can see how much your child has grown in the time since the last visit, and talk with your doctor about your child’s development. You can also discuss your child’s milestones, social behaviors and learning – this is extra important with the school disruptions we’ve experienced in the past year. Of special note, one of our most important tasks is picking up developmental lags or delays. The earlier we can do so, the better the chances that we can intervene with diagnosis and treatment – and early treatment makes a huge difference in outcomes. Many children are unable to experience normal developmental environments (i.e. schools, playgrounds, etc.) during the pandemic, so it is extra important to keep track of their development during this time.
- Raising concerns. You should make a list of topics you want to talk about with your child’s pediatrician, such as development, behavior, sleep, eating or getting along with other family members. It is suggested that you bring your top three to five questions or concerns with you to talk with your pediatrician at the start of the visit. This has been especially helpful during the pandemic, as children are encountering unprecedented levels of anxiety, loneliness and depression.
- Team approach. And very importantly, regular well care visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among pediatrician, parent and child, and this team approach helps develop the optimal physical, mental and social health of your child! As they grow up, Well-child care visits also give your children the chance to learn to take responsibility for their health and habits, and teach them to advocate for their needs, a skill that will help them navigate successfully to young adulthood.
If you have questions about what types of pediatric care services are provided during a well-child care visit, please feel free to contact us directly with any questions you may have. We are always happy when our families reach out to us!
Important Recommendations and Guidance Regarding Well-Child Care Visits During COVID-19
In a prior blog, we strongly recommended coming to PIP’s offices for regular, up to date well-child care visits, even in this time of COVID-19. We have been heartened to see so many of our patient families taking our advice, and we hope to see even more of you in the future! Although we understand that you may have some concerns about your family’s exposure to COVID-19, a failure to obtain screenings for growth, behavioral, mental health, risk issues and important immunizations for your child could put them at risk for measles, whooping cough and other illnesses that could potentially be more life-threatening than COVID-19 appears to be to children. To that end, we agree with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AAP ‘s emphasis on the importance of maintaining vaccination schedules, particularly for younger children.
To help you make your decision about scheduling well-child care visits at our offices, we want you to know the steps we are taking to protect our patient families:
- Consistent with the guidance from the AAP, well-child care visits are only scheduled during separate times from sick child visits, alternating between mornings and afternoons in each office. To keep them separate from our well patients, sick patients are seen at separate times of day – or by telehealth, if appropriate – to minimize exposure for well children.
- When you come into our office, you will notice that all providers and staff members in patient care areas are wearing masks, in line with recommendations from health departments.
- All visitors to PIP over the age of 2 are required to wear masks on the premises.
- Temperature checks are performed not only on our patients, but on our staff and providers and all visitors to PIP every day.
- If patients or other visitors are ill during well care hours, we ask that they reschedule the visit.
- Rest assured that we are taking extra steps to ensure the cleanliness of our offices, including patient waiting areas and care areas. We want YOU, as well as all of us, to be safe and healthy!
As your integrative pediatrician and valued medical home in the Mile High City, practicing conventional medicine while also using complementary and alternative methods, we’ll continue to use every tool available to us to provide excellent care for your children, including the all-important well-child care visit! Well Care visits are more important than ever right now during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic, and are a valuable tool to helping your child stay on track with their development during this stressful time. We encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have and to schedule your child’s well-child care visit, as appropriate. We look forward to seeing you and your kiddos!
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