Thursday, January 28, 2010
How to choose the best physician for your child

Nemours' KidsHealth (, the most-visited site for information about health, behavior and development from before birth through the teen years, offers some great tips on choosing the right health care provider for your child. Know your options - There are three types of qualified providers: 1. Pediatricians - Pediatrics is the medical specialty fully focused on the physical, emotional, and social health of children from birth through adolescence. The primary focus of pediatrics is on preventive health care. 2. Family Physicians - Because they train in many areas, family physicians are qualified to care for patients of all ages. This means your child would be able to see the same doctor from birth through adulthood. 3. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Another type of child health care provider is the pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP). These professionals generally have earned a master's degree in nursing and have specialized pediatric training. PNPs work closely with doctors in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Start searching early - Your search for a health care provider should begin well before your baby's due date. Babies often come early and you'll want to be sure you've found a health professional whose style and personality work with your own. A good time to begin your search is about three months before the baby is expected. Know your health plan - If you're in a managed health care plan, your choice of participating doctors who provide primary care for children may be limited, so be sure to check the plan's online list (paper lists get outdated quickly). Call your health plan directly if you have any questions. Ask around - Once you know the limits of your health plan, compile a list of candidates from people you trust your relatives, friends, neighbors and coworkers who share your parenting philosophies. Your doctor, obstetrician or nurse-midwife can also be a good source for recommendations. You also can request a list of board-certified pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and board-certified family physicians from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Do your research - Once you have recommendations, check them out more thoroughly. In each state, a medical board investigates complaints against doctors and may take disciplinary action, ranging from citing a doctor for non-payment of certain administrative fees to suspending or revoking his or her license for criminal behavior. Disciplinary action is rare but fortunately very easy for parents to uncover. In most states, the information is public and is posted by state medical boards on their websites. Interview potential providers - A prenatal appointment is an excellent opportunity for parents to ask questions and get acquainted with the office staff. Some things to ask include:

  • What are the office hours of the practice? If you need a practice with weekend or evening hours, now is the time to find out what they offer.
  • Is this a solo or group practice? If it's solo, who will cover for the doctor when he or she is unavailable? If it's a group practice, ask for the qualifications of the other doctors and who will see your child when your doctor is unavailable?
  • Does a PNP work in the office?
  • Which hospital is the doctor affiliated with and who will provide care there?
  • How does the office handle during and after hours calls? Is there a "phone nurse" available during office hours to take general questions?
  • What happens after hours? Who will handle emergencies? Is email an option?
  • What are the payment policies and referral policies?
Observe office procedures - The interview is a great time to observe office procedures. Check out the reception area; how many patients are waiting? More than a handful may mean overbooking or it could mean the doctor is spending extra time with a patient who needs it. Is there a place where sick kids can be separated from those in for a well visit? Is the area clean and child-friendly? Is the staff polite and considerate to patients in the waiting room and to people on the phone? Talk to other parents too. Get a feel for the doctor's personality - Does he or she see parents as partners in a child's care? Is he or she patient and willing to explain things carefully? Do you get the impression the doctor would be supportive if you requested a second opinion? Are the doctor's age and gender important issues to you? Good communication between a doctor and parent is essential to building a good working relationship. Is the doctor a good listener who seems responsive to your concerns? Are you comfortable asking questions or do you feel intimidated? You also should be sure that your parenting style matches your doctor's in the important issues such as breastfeeding, circumcision, alternative medicine, use of antibiotics, immunizations and nutrition. Choosing the right health care provider will help you feel confident your baby will be well cared for throughout childhood and beyond, and will ease some of the anxiety all new parents experience. Find out more at

Vascular Center opens at NMH

On Jan. 21, The Vascular Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital held a ribbon cutting and Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce Mixer to celebrate the center's opening. The event included a ribbon cutting ceremony, tours of the facility, health screening information, prize giveaways, refreshments and more. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's President & CEO, Steven A. Rose, spoke during the ceremony and participated in the ribbon cutting. Taking a dual role during the event, Tom Brown, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's senior vice president and Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce president, also spoke and participated in The Vascular Center's ribbon cutting. Nyen V. Chong, M.D., Thoracic and Vascular surgeon and medical directorof The Vascular Center, drew names for door prizes donated by area businesses. For the diagnosis and treatment of medical problems involving the vascular system (the arteries and veins of the circulatory system), the Vascular Center at Nanticoke Hospital offers a wealth of medical expertise and advanced technology. For more information, contact The Vascular Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-0452.

Go Red for Women tickets on sale The American Heart Association's Kent/Sussex Division will host its 7th Annual Go Red For Women Luncheon on Friday, Feb. 5, at the Sheraton Hotel in Dover. Free screenings will be available at 11 a.m., and an exercise demonstration by Bay Health Lifestyle staff will take place before the luncheon. An educational game show hosted by Alex Vaughan Mobile Entertainment is also slated to begin at 11 a.m. The luncheon and fashion show starts at noon. Bay Health will then present an educational program on Women and Heart Disease, which will start immediately after the fashion show and is a Continuing Education credit. Individual tickets are $20. Tickets purchased after Jan. 23, are $30 each. Reserved seating is also available for a contribution of $75/person. A reserved table of eight at the luncheon, with additional recognition at the event as a table sponsor, is available for $1,000. For tickets, contact Mary Field at 302-736-5000 or Lauren Wlazelek at 302-286-5723. For more information or sponsorship and corporate table opportunities, contact the American Heart Association at 877-750-4276 or visit

Bayhealth Baby Fair Jan. 30 Bayhealth Medical Center's 14th Annual Baby Fair will be held on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Destiny Christian Church in Dover. With a theme of "The Skinny on Obesity and How it Affects Families," this year's fair will feature free presentations, crafts and activities for children, educational materials, vendors, giveaways, door prizes and light refreshments. Free activities for children include: "Junk Food Jackson Goes to Lunch," enacted by Bayhealth Clinical Educator Inga Sinyangwe, MSN, RN. This fun and interactive puppet show extravaganza focuses on good nutrition for children age 4 through 10. The show will be offered at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. "Super Sibling Table" - hosted by Bayhealth's Child Life Specialists in a day-long exhibit. Free presentations for parents and parents-to-be include: "Obesity and The Pregnant Woman" from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., presented by Dr. Garrett Colmorgen "Nutrition for the Whole Family," from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., presented by Jennifer Linton, Bayhealth Clinical Dietitian This event is free to the public and pre-registration is not required. For more information, call Bayhealth Maternal-Child Educator Wendy Lovette, RN, LCCE, IBCLC, at 302-744-6229 or e-mail

PRMC offers free CPR seminar In recognition of February being American Heart Month, the Guerrieri Heart & Vascular Institute at Peninsula Regional Medical Center is offering a free "CPR for Family and Friends" seminar on Tuesday, Feb. 9. The seminar is designed for anyone who wants to learn CPR rescue skills but does not require a CPR course completion card. It will teach rescuers how to perform CPR on adults and children and how to help an adult or child who is choking. The seminar will be conducted from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Avery W. Hall Educational Center (corner of Waverly Drive and Locust Street) on the Peninsula Regional campus. Free parking is available in the lot across from the Educational Center or in the adjacent Parking Garage B. Pre-registration is required by calling 410-543-7226. Space is limited.

Health Fair is Feb. 1 Bayhealth Medical Center - Milford Memorial Hospital will host a Milford Community Forum & Health Fair on Monday, Feb. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Carlisle Fire Company in Milford. The event is free and open to the public. This special event will include free health screenings, informational displays on Bayhealth programs and services, and the opportunity to interact with Bayhealth leaders, employees and physicians. Bayhealth's leaders will speak about Bayhealth's focus on Milford Memorial Hospital, including new physician recruitment, ongoing improvements and renovations, recent awards and recognition, new services and future plans. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at the same time and location. For more information, call 430-5978.

Cancer support group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a free general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The monthly support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care Center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Wellness Community is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. All facilitators of these groups are trained mental health professionals. Call 645-9150 for information or to register. For more information about The Wellness Community, visit

Annual women's conference The fifth annual "Women Supporting Women Through Opportunity Conference" will begin Friday, March 26, and last through Sunday, March 28, with an array of activities including eight workshops, door prizes, food, fellowship and lots of fun and learning opportunities. The annual conference, planned by friends of the "GeeYou Will Project," a formal wear lending library and women and girls mentoring project serving those in need of these services throughout Delaware, will be held at Redden Lodge, near Georgetown. This celebratory fifth annual conference will begin with the "Eat Dessert First" reception and an evening of activities and dedications. As one of the special features of this year's conference, the Young Women's Drumming Empowerment Project (YWDEP), a Washington, D.C. area group lead by Kristin Arant will join the group on Friday evening. The YWDEP performance is sponsored by Lynne Betts of "MichaeLynne Peace Products" of Seaford. On Saturday a variety of workshop topics are planned including belly dancing; a woman's forum, homespun health; and meditation. On Sunday there will be a non-denominational "Celebration Ceremony" followed by a morning of crafting and other activities before a "Leftovers Buffet" and family reception in the afternoon. Cost of the conference is $50 which includes food, supplies, facilities and lodging (if desired) on a first come, first served basis. The conference is open to 55 women, ages 18-80 and beyond and workshop assignments are made based on registration dates. For more information, or if you or someone you know is interested in becoming a sponsor of the Conference or the "Gee You Will Project," call Rosemary Joseph-Kappel at 302-242-0032 or e-mail

Man to Man support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital offers a Man to Man support group meeting on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Man to Man helps men cope with prostate cancer by receiving information and peer support. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Larry Skala (337-3678) or Grafton Adams (628-8311).

Depression Support Group There is a free bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who has signs and symptoms of depression and is under the care of a professional counselor/MD is welcome to attend. To register, call 302-465-6612.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Monthly support group Compassionate Care Hospice, The Wellness Community-DE and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will collaborate to present a monthly bereavement group, The Next Step. The group focuses on issues of loss that continue beyond the early stages of grief. Mary Van House, bereavement coordinator, will facilitate the group at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, at the Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, second floor conference room. To register, call Lisa at 629-6611, ext. 2378.