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Scott McDonald and Associates PLLC

12 Tips for Finding a Hospital for Your Child

No parent ever wants to think about a child falling prey to a illness or serious injury from a car accident or other wise.  Unfortunately, more than 5 million children have a chronic condition, which requires regular medical treatment.  There are also nearly 22 million visits to ER by families with injuries to a child.  So parents have a good chance a child will need a hospital's care sometime during their life.

Choosing the right doctor and hospital requires some care research and asking some tough questions.  no matter how good a doctor or hospital is, no one will look out for your child like you. Here are 12 Tips for parents to find the best pediatric hospital care.

1.  Find a Children's Hospital.  In Washington there is Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, and Sacred Heart Children's Hospital in Spokane.

2.  Learn about the illness and hos success is measured.  Know what to expect so you can help guide your child's care and make sure it is what's best for your little angel.

3.  Don't rely solely on Google for your research.  Information on the web is great, but not always complete.  Children's hospitals often have parent and Family Resource Centers to help you wade through all the information out there.

4.  Use your pediatrician to help get that appointment with the elite specialist.  You can do it on your own, but your child's doctor is in the system and knows how to work it in your favor.

5.  Ask about volume and quality measures, but also about depth of care team.  performing lots of a particular procedure helps, but child are a smaller number in population so the expertise of the care team is also an important factor to examine.

6.  Is there a Satellite location?  Perhaps you don't have to travel to the major city, there might be a satellite location closer to you.

7.  Check out advocacy groups.  Not all are created equally, some are sponsored by drug companies.  The National Organization for Rare Disorders keeps a list of 2,000+ patient groups that are non-political.

8.  Get help from other parents.  Get your bearings first and proceed cautiously.  you need to have the basic knowledge of your child's illness first.  However, when you're ready parent groups can provide a source of great support and information while helping and aleve some feelings of isolation.  Parent to Parent USA matches up parents. 

9.  Find services for your whole child.  teenagers may have more than simple medical needs.  Issues around sexuality, education, social interaction or emotional well being may need to be addressed as well.

10.  Expect your doctor to ask other doctors for advice.  It's a good sign that your doctor wants to make sure he is recommending the best option or choice.  You want the best care and consulting other specialists at different hospitals can be a good thing.  A red flag should go up if your doctor resistant to your question of whether he has consulted with his peers.

11.  Consider a clinical trial.  Many diseases and illness are not understood.  A clinic trial may be the place where the best care can be found.  You may need to find these as your doctor is likely not aware of every clinical trial around the country.

12.  Demand - nicely - to be included in treatment decisions.  Family involvement is absolutely critical to getting first-rate medical care.  You know your child better than most doctors, so you're an ally for quality and safety.  Ask to participate in bedside rounds, where doctors and staff discuss your child's status.  This has been shown to have positive effects on the care of your child.

Use this tips as a starting point to find the best hospital and treatment for your child.