Pediatrician, family doctor, kids’ doctor—these all indicate the same type of care. As most people know, the field of pediatrics is focused on providing medical care to infants, children, and teenagers. It might not seem like there’s much difference between pediatrics and internal (i.e. adult) medicine, especially since both are primary care physicians. Nevertheless, there are some strong differences that are worth noting. These differences mainly have to do with the end goal of the care provided.
Children are physiologically different from adults, and not just in terms of size. Children are constantly growing and developing. Their bodies and minds undergo drastic changes at certain points in their development, and that has a significant impact on how their medical care ought to be focused. For example, treating an injury on a child is going to entail some slightly different details than for adults in terms of methods for pain management or the time it takes to heal.
Since children are constantly growing, pediatrics focuses on easing and safeguarding their development. This includes preparing them physically and mentally for the changes that will occur as they age as well as ensuring they get the preventative treatments they need. Vaccinations, for example, are administered at certain ages to ward off specific diseases. With adults, vaccines are less important and are usually reserved for cases that necessitate them, such as when preparing to travel to another country or preventing tetanus from an injury.
As your child develops, issues may arise that will need professional attention. These could be something as simple as a passing illness, but they might also be conditions that have a lasting effect on their health well into adulthood. A Westminster pediatrician is trained to recognize signs of long-term health issues and treat them appropriately, thus preventing further problems from occurring later on.
Continuity of Care
With any physician, continuity is key, but it’s especially important when it comes to a kids doctor. Continuity of care means your child’s physician is both well aware of his or her unique needs and has a complete record of past care. This allows your pediatrician to provide specialized care that allows your son or daughter to successfully navigate the unique challenges he or she will face and grow up into a healthy adult.
Continuity of care is also important for an adult doctor, but the impact of an incomplete medical record won’t necessarily have the same long-lasting impact that it would with a child. This is because adult care deals far less with development and far more with maintaining healthy living.
Choosing a Kids Doctor
Pediatricians have specialized training that allows them to recognize developmental issues early on, treat children for specific health issues, and prepare them for growth into adulthood. A good kids doctor will truly care about your child and have the necessary qualifications to administer sound medical treatment, but not all pediatricians are the same. It’s vital to do thorough research on whatever doctor you choose for your child so you can be sure you find someone who is knowledgeable, reliable, accessible, and personable.