Published on February 25, 2021

Essentia Health emphasizes importance of preventive well-child visits

Staying healthy throughout this past year has been top of mind for many. While much of the attention has been focused on how not to get sick, preventive medical care remains critically important. That’s why Essentia Health is reminding parents to schedule well-child visits for their children.

Dr. Trish Scherrer, Essentia Health pediatrician, explains, “it’s important to stay on time for your child’s well-child visits because these visits cover a variety of topics that are critical to your child’s health and development.”

Well-child visits are designed to be comprehensive and include measuring the child’s growth, performing screenings and discussing nutrition and well-being. It’s important to evaluate a child’s developmental and school milestones for progress and discuss strategies to protect your child from illness and injury.

“Well visits are also our opportunity to provide your child’s scheduled immunizations, which are critical in preventing illnesses like measles, mumps, polio and hepatitis,” says Dr. Scherrer. “Physical examinations are essential for a complete picture of your child’s health, and sometimes your child’s pediatrician will identify a concern that you weren’t even aware of.”

For one Fargo mother, her son’s well-child visit diagnosed a rare eye problem before it caused loss of sight.

Luke Conway, age 1, was at Essentia Health for his six-month well-child visit when his mom, Kelsie, mentioned that she had noticed some delayed movement in one of his eyes. Upon examination, the pediatrician agreed further evaluation was needed. Luke was referred to an ophthalmologist, who then referred him to a specialist. Luke was diagnosed with a rare eye condition – congenital cataract with persistent fetal vasculature; he had a cataract on the iris portion of his eye and a blood vessel was pulling on his retina, which cause a partial retinal detachment.

Thanks to early intervention, Luke was able to have surgery to correct the issue. “He’s just this super happy baby. If we didn’t have that well-child visit, I probably would have chalked it up to a minor developmental delay that he would eventually outgrow,” shares Conway.

Essentia Health is utilizing an electronic Ages and Stages questionnaire during well-child visits. Parents with children age 9 months, 18 months, 30 months, and 36 months now have the opportunity to complete the 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.

By completing the questionnaire online, parents will get more time with their child’s care team during their appointment.

Schedule a well-child visit through your Essentia MyChart account or call your local Essentia Health clinic to set up an appointment today. You can also schedule online and learn more about pediatrics by visiting EssentiaHealth.org.

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