How to Get Ready for Health Care Appointments

Health care should be patient and family centered. While patients and families are looking for answers, physicians and other members of the health care team also need information. The medical history that patients and families tell the physicians/health care team is important to getting a proper diagnosis and care.

In the traditional approach to health care, patients/families answer questions and physicians/other health care professionals recommend treatment. However, patient-centered care emphasizes the role of patients and families as part of the health care team. Patient-centered care is especially important when patients/families are working to manage a chronic health condition, such as epilepsy.

Tips For Parents/Caregivers as They Get Ready for an Appointment

Health care appointments can have children and youth with epilepsy (CYE) and their families feeling overwhelmed with concern, fear and anxiety. In some cases, parents/caregivers are unable to recall much of what the health care professional said during an appointment. While this is normal, below are some tips for parents/caregivers to keep in mind as they get ready for a physician’s appointment.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Bring a list of questions with you.
  • Bring photos or videos of your child’s symptoms. It can be especially helpful to take videos of new seizures and spells that you are concerned about, to show them to your doctor.
  • Bring another family member or support person with you to the appointment. If this is not possible, see if you can call them on speakerphone or video chat with them during the appointment).
  • Take time to absorb the information provided by the health care professional.
  • If you need translation, interpretation or other communication support, make this known when scheduling appointments so appropriate arrangements can be made.
  • Tell your physician if you have any concerns about or are having trouble accessing any of the resources or treatments recommended.
  • Ask for written information about the diagnosis so you can review it at home.
  • Ask for information about other services and supports that can help you manage your child’s condition in your day-to-day lives.
  • Arrange for follow-up appointments, as needed.

Tips for Telehealth Appointments

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports telehealth for some health care visits, especially when you cannot meet face-to-face. It is recommended that families use telehealth within their child's medical home. While telehealth should not replace in-person visits, it could be an option for some visits or just to share information with your doctor. To find out more on how to prepare for a telehealth appointment, visit: Telehealth 101: Get Plugged in to Your Child’s Health.

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American Academy of Pediatrics