How is Pediatric Care Different?
A family physician is trained to care for the medical needs of any age group, from the first days of life into adulthood and old age. Every age and stage comes with its own unique medical considerations, but how is pediatric care different?
Pediatric care refers to the healthcare that a child will receive for the first eighteen years of their life. Although “pediatric” is a general term for children of any age, the first eighteen years of life entail a wide range of growth and development. The needs of an infant are much different than a teenager; pediatric care is sensitive to every age and stage.
First and foremost, pediatric care is family-centered. At the heart of pediatric care is the understanding that children are the heart of their family. While adults can make independent decisions about their own health needs, children rely on their parents to do so for them. A pediatric doctor works closely with both the child and parents to ensure that the child is growing and meeting appropriate developmental milestones.
Pediatric care also takes on a more holistic approach to health. Much of adult healthcare focuses on caring for specific health problems as they arise, and then treating the symptoms. A routine adult visit might include a brief discussion of health history, followed by a quick physical screening. A pediatric visit will include vision and hearing screenings, as well as reflex checks and immunizations. But pediatric care is also more than a height and weight measurement or a blood pressure reading. Children’s well exams examine the child’s whole life, from their eating and bathroom habits to sleep routines to emotional and social well-being. Pediatric care takes a more preventative approach by ensuring that all aspects of a child’s life and development are on track.
Finally, while all family physicians must have a wide range of knowledge about the human body’s development and health, pediatric care requires a deep understanding of specialty information pertaining to growth and development. In a typical day’s work, a pediatric doctor may help a mother troubleshoot feeding issues with her newborn, identify a vision problem in a young child who can’t see at school, and screen a teenager for depression. The needs of children change drastically from birth to adulthood, but a pediatric doctor knows how to care for them all.
Childhood is an incredibly special time in life. The healthcare received during childhood should be attuned to this unique period of development. The physicians at Westgate Family Physicians understand what it takes to foster a healthy, happy child because we have families too. To make an appointment for your child, call (864) 574-0070.