PARENT’S ROLE AS CARE MANAGER

Who advocates for your child?

Who is the lead provider or care manager for him or her?  

Commonly, parents believe that their child’s pediatrician or another significant professional will guide their medical and mental health care.  In actuality, this is often not the case due to enormous caseloads and changes in our healthcare system.  As a result, parents must arrange, monitor, and coordinate their child’s mental and physical health care.  If a parent does not take the lead, a child’s important needs will likely be overlooked.  

 As a consequence of early deprivation, children may see a few to many professionals, and typically are also involved in school or community activities.  A list of potential professionals adopted and foster children may be involved with include: 

  • Community Activities: Boy or Girl Scouts, sports coaches, academic club coaches, church activity coordinators.
  • Speech and Language Therapist 
  • Physicians: Pediatrician, Family Physician, or other medical specialists, ie: Neurologist, Psychiatrist.
  • Mental Health Professionals: Psychologist, Social Worker, Family Therapist, Pastoral Counselor.
  • Alternative Therapy Providers: Hippotherapy, Cranial Sacral Therapist, Massage Therapist.
  • Dietician
  • Educational Professional: Teacher, Tutors, School counselor, Principal or other Administrators, Special Education Teacher, Classroom Aide.
  • Occupational Therapist 
  • Court or State Workers: Child Protective Service Worker, Judge, CASA Worker. 

SUGGESTIONS FOR MANAGING YOUR CHILD’S CARE

When parents manage their child’s care, they must be organized and knowledgeable about their child’s ailments, medications, treatment, as well as each provider’s area of expertise.  Some suggestions to help in this endeavor include:

  1. Be Organized-- Everyone has a different style to organization, whether in a day planner, folders, or an electronic device.  Choose the way you prefer, and keep all pertinent information available at home and appointments. 
  2. Understand your child’s insurance-- Know how your insurance works to ensure using the benefits to your advantage.  Understand the following aspects of your policy: deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, authorizations, and maximum out of pocket expenses. 
  3. Keep a copy of important papers-- Request and maintain a copy of evaluations your child has completed.  At the end of any treatment, request a copy of the treatment summary.  To obtain these records, you will need to sign a “Release of Information” to the provider or facility.
  4. Keep a list of your child’s providers-- Make a list of your child’s past and current providers containing: phone number, fax number, email address, and street address.
  5. Create a list of potential providers--  Maintain a list of providers who are recommended to you from trusted friends, family, and the current professionals who treat your child.  This list may come in handy in the future or could be shared with another family or friends.
  6. Do not be afraid to ask questions-- As your child’s treatment leader, you need to be informed.  If there is something you do not understand, continue to ask questions until you have a better comprehension. 
  7. Pursue provider recommendations-- If the provider believes another evaluation or treatment is necessary, confirm that the referral has been sent, the suggested provider is a good fit for your child, and the new treatment is valuable.
  8. Follow up-- One of the care manager’s jobs is to follow up with the insurance company, the provider’s office, and the providers to assure completion of agreed upon tasks. 

 Once parents undertake the care manager role, they feel more purposeful in their child’s care and find it to be an even more worthwhile experience.   Parents, please leave a comment and share with others how you manage your child’s care!

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