Making Healthcare Decisions for Your Family

Parents often tell us that one of their biggest concerns during their ongoing journey as parents is making decisions about health and wellness issues for their children and other family members. These decisions are a personal choice based on the parents’ level of knowledge, comfort, ethnic background and basic philosophy.

Choosing a hospital for your children could be the most important decision you ever make. Brian Berman, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief for Beaumont Children’s Hospital near Detroit recognizes, “Parents want and deserve the best for their children, even beyond what they want for themselves.”

Here are some additional strategies you may find helpful:

  • Find a healthcare provider (HCP) that you are comfortable with. He/ she should listen to you, welcome questions, and consider you a partner in health and wellness.
  • Do your homework. If there is something that you don’t have a lot of knowledge about talk to your HCP, utilize reliable sources on the web, and talk to friends and family.  Second opinions are a good option for serious decisions.
    • Write it down. Take notes when meeting with your HCP, come to appoints with a list of questions, keep a timeline of symptoms or concerns.
  • You and your family are unique. What is right for you is unique.  There is no “one size fits all” in health care.  All people are different, and this includes babies and children.
  • When a decision regarding health care needs to be made discussing the following may help you to discern a path that is comfortable for you and your family.  These questions are general enough that they can work equally well whether you are discussing a medication, a surgery, or most other health care issues:
    • What are the benefits?
    • What are the possible risks / side effects?
    • What if we waited / observed/ watched before doing anything?
      • How long could we safely do this?
    • What are the alternatives to what we are discussing?
      • Example: Is physical therapy an alternative to surgery?
      • Example: Can herbal supplements help?

Remember that Beaumont Health System is here to help you will health and wellness concerns.  Visit our website for referrals to health care specialists, health information and many community health and wellness classes.

–Mary Anne Kenerson RN, Coordinator, Community Health Education, Beaumont Health System

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