Published on September 01, 2020

Essentia Health emphasizes importance of preventive well-child visits

Even during a global pandemic, preventive medical care remains critically important. That’s why Essentia Health is reminding parents to schedule their well-child visits.

We understand that COVID-19 fears are keeping some people away from clinics and hospitals. Kari Bulthuis used to harbor those concerns. But the Duluth mother of two said she couldn’t have felt more safe while bringing her oldest son, Gavin, in for a checkup in mid-August. Gavin, 16, had a full physical and received two vaccines.

“I think it is vitally important to prioritize preventive health,” said Kari, a speech language pathologist at Essentia. “Healthy children fair better during a pandemic, and we as a society should do everything we can to promote health and wellness. I encourage anyone to take their child in for preventive care.”

Well-child visits cover topics like children’s growth and development, nutrition, safety, and emotional and physical well-being. Scheduled vaccines, which prevent viral infections like measles, mumps, polio and hepatitis, also are administered during these visits.

Other benefits include:

  • Prevention: Your child gets scheduled immunizations to prevent illness. You also can ask your pediatrician about nutrition and safety in the home and at school.
  • Tracking growth and development: See how much your child has grown in the time since your last visit, and talk with your doctor about your child’s development. You can discuss your child’s milestones, social behaviors and learning.
  • Raising concerns: Make a list of topics you want to talk about with your child’s pediatrician, such as development, behavior, sleep, eating or getting along with other family members. Bring your top 3-5 questions or concerns.
  • Team approach: Regular visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among pediatrician, parent and child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends well-child visits as a way for pediatricians and parents to serve the needs of children. This team approach helps children develop optimal physical, mental and social health.

“Pediatric well visits are so much more than ‘just’ a checkup or a sports physical,” said Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, a pediatrician at Essentia. “We get to know your family, encourage healthy lifestyles and ensure that your children are growing appropriately — mentally, socially and physically. As long as we are able to provide this service safely, seeing our families face-to-face in the office is vitally important to continue to carefully monitor your child’s health, from infancy to young adulthood.”

Schedule a well-child visit or sports physical for your through your Essentia MyChart account or call your Essentia clinic to set up an appointment today.

Ages and Stages Questionnaire in MyChart

Parents with children age 9 months, 18 months, 30 months and 36 months now have the opportunity to complete an Ages and Stages questionnaire in MyChart to ensure their child is developing at a normal rate. These questionnaires are automatically assigned before well-child visits and can be completed up to seven days prior to an appointment during the e-check-in process. Previously, the questionnaire had to be completed on paper at the doctor’s office.

By completing the questionnaire online, parents will get more time with their child’s care team during their appointment. Children also may perform better in their home environment during the demonstration portion of the questionnaire.

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