Q: Should I choose a pediatrician who specializes in multiples?
A: Choosing a pediatrician is an important step in the care of your new multiples. While direct experience caring for multiples may be helpful, a more important consideration is whether the pediatrician has experience caring for children born preterm or who may face developmental delays as a result of a preterm birth.
The following is a list of questions to assist parents when looking for a Pediatrician or other Health Care Practitioner.
- Is the office near your home or place of work?
- How long does it take to get there during rush hour?
- Is parking convenient and free or validated?
- Can you safely load and unload the children in the parking area?
- Does the practice have more than one office?
- Are the same practitioners at the same offices all the time?
- What are the office hours?
- What are the after hours/weekend protocol if a problem arises?
- Are there weekend and/or evening hours?
- Who will answer calls and give advice after hours?
- Are there additional charges for responding to after hour problems or questions?
- What time of day are calls typically returned?
- Does the office have separate well and sick waiting areas? How are they separated?
- If there is no well-child waiting area, are they prepared to immediately put the babies in a room upon arrival?
- How many HOM families do they treat in their practice? What strategies have they found helpful in caring for these families?
- Are there toys in the waiting room? How often are they cleaned?
- Will they make appointments for all of the children’s well visits on the same day, or require coming back for two or more visits in order to get all routine physicals done?
- How many nurses are on staff?
- What are their credentials? (RN, LPN/LVN, Medical Assistant)
- How long have they been in their practice?
- Do they take after hours call for the Health Care Providers?
- Can parents ask to talk to the clinician instead of a nurse?
- Do they wear white lab coats? (scary to some children)
- Is this Health Care Provider listed as a preferred provider on family’s insurance plan?
- Will the office file the claims?
- What hospital is the provider affiliated with?
- Is this hospital compatible with family’s insurance plan?
The Health Care Provider:
- Does he/she have a specialty or area of interest?
- Where did they receive their medical training?
- How long have they been in practice?
- How many other Health Care Providers are partnered in his practice?
- Is there a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant on staff?
- Which providers see the children for well-visits or sick visits?
- Do the providers see each other’s patients?
- Are there any outside providers who take call for this practice?
- What experience does the staff have in dealing with multiple issues?
- Can he/she give referrals to specialists outside of the area? (e.g. another state if needed?)
- Does the office staff seem friendly and interested in children?
- How do the providers and staff help children feel more comfortable or less anxious during a visit?
- Parents should talk with the provider and the office staff to develop a sense of whether they have the same philosophy as the parent does.
- Talk with other parents to find out their experiences and recommendations.