EP32: Children In Consultation


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Warrick is a practicing cardiologist an author with a passion for improving care by helping patients understand their heart health through education. Warrick believes educated patients get their best health care. Discover and understand the latest approaches and technology in heart care and how this might apply to you or someone you love.

Hi, I am Doctor work Bishop and I'd like to welcome you to my consulting room. Today I'd like to talk about a topic that's a little bit sensitive at times. Today I'd look like to talk about bringing children to your consultation.

So, talking about parents with their children can be a bit tricky, as you might imagine. And they can be a subject that needs to be dealt with with care and understanding. So that's what I'm going to do right off the bat. I'm going to let you know I have two kids and I remember what they were like when they were small and I know what they're like now and I love them dearly.

And I do like kids. So that's all important as a disclosure, but it's a different scenario in the consultation room. There's a lot of stuff that goes on in a consultation, not least of which is the connection between the patient and the doctor. There is a limited time; there is a real need to concentrate. Sometimes we're talking about doses of medication, sometimes we're talking about treatment strategies we're talking about symptoms; we might even be talking about prognosis and some of these things are really important.

I want to share a couple of quick stories with you to give us some thoughts around children at consultations. I relatively recently saw Carol who is very anxious; she had multiple symptoms and lightheadedness. There was some loss of balance. Very complex issues. She was anxious and she came along with her two year old child who was everywhere. Our 15 minute consultation really didn't get very far because we were dealing with trying to entertain the child who found my stethoscope, my computer; was not happy drawing on the floor; and unfortunately we really didn't get very far in Carol's first consultation.

Now you can't always find a babysitter and that was the case for Carol as it happened. We saw very soon after she had been able to get someone to care for her child and in fact we had a far more meaningful consultation subsequently because we were able to concentrate without the distraction. Now I'm not saying kids are bad distraction, they can be a delightful distraction and things like, "oh, aren't they cute," and "aww, isn't that sweet," are all fine and lovely, but if they're impacting on the opportunity for the individual who needs care to get their care, then it's probably not the right place. Anyway, We've got Carol back on track. And she still brings her two year old from time to time if she can't get a sitter, but we've covered such a lot of ground. We're in a much better place to deal with that and move smoothly through those consultations.

Also recently I saw someone called Lindy who is pretty anxious also. She'd come because there was sudden cardiac death in the family. And as you would imagine, that concerned her and concerned her for the health of her child. She came with a three month old who was pretty new. That little baby slept for the entire consultation. Caused us absolutely no trouble whatsoever. I was able to engage with Lynda and share very complex ideas about her family history and what had gone on with her family and her own health. And even more than that, the health of the child. So the three month old slept, if you like, like a baby. No trouble at all.

Just the other day, Bruce came to see me. He was 85 years of age. And he brought his son Tony who was just over 50. Bruce has been around for a while. He was a little bit confused, he's got some complicated health issues. And I have to say, having Tony there was an absolute bonus. Tony was able to help me clarify exactly what drugs Bruce was taking. Tony was able to own one of the treatment strategies I wanted to put in place for his father, and so that consultation, without question, was made better by Bruce bringing his child along.

In summary, children in consultations are a difficult question. At the end of the day, what your doctor wants to do is to see you as an individual who needs care to get the best care, and that requires being engaged, having concentration. Being able to ask questions, being able to answer questions. Being able to deal with the detail that we need to cover to make sure that you get the best health care available. If you've got a little one who is going to tear around and climb the walls, there is no question that that will detract from the consultation, but if it can't be helped, it can't be helped. If you can get someone to look after that little one, brilliant. If you've got one that will sleep all the way through. Fantastic. If you've got a child who come along and help you get the best care, then all the better. At the end of the day, we just want to see you get what you need for your best health care, because then you can look after your kids as best as possible also.

I hope that makes a bit of sense. I hope you found it interesting. I hope I didn't give the impression that I'm not for Jordan. I desperately am, but there is a time and place and the consultation and the information is so important around that, it's really important to think about. I'd really like to wish you the very best. Thank you for joining me. And goodbye.

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