Q: How often should you schedule wellness visits?
Wellness-visit frequency varies with age. They correspond with the recommended immunization schedule from birth until 18 months, every two to three months, and then are recommended yearly from age 2 years through high school.
Q: Why is it so important for consistent wellness visits?
Wellness visits are important for a number of reasons. They help us track growth and development to identify and intervene as early as possible when or if there are delays or problems in growth. They help keep the patient up to date on recommended immunizations. They offer an opportunity to discuss any issues or questions that the patient or parent may want to discuss. And they also offer an opportunity to perform recommended health screenings and preventative and anticipatory guidance that will help the patient stay safe and healthy.
Q: What are the most common issues you are monitoring?
This also varies greatly by age. In newborns, infants and toddlers we are primarily tracking growth and development, looking for any delays, working to help encourage healthy behaviors in preschool and school age children. Additionally we look for and discuss behavioral problems, learning issues and safety issues.
Q: Why do parents not keep regular wellness visits?
If the patient is up to date on vaccines, parents do not feel that well visits are needed if they do not have any concerns. But a lot of times issues will come up that were completely off their radar based on screenings, anticipatory guidance, or questions the patients bring up that the parents were completely unaware existed. So it is good to maintain regular visits because it offers that opportunity for dialogue and conversation about how to be and stay healthy and safe.
Q: What wellness issues do you see trending most often now?
A lot of the things we are targeting or discussing now deal with screen time, mental or behavioral health and wellness, obesity and healthy eating and exercise, and teen risky behaviors such as vaping or substance use.
Q: Are there wellness issues that physicians easily spot that parents miss?
A lot of times with teenagers in particular they may be battling with anxiety or depression and have not talked to a parent. We do various depression screens routinely that help us pick up on some of these symptoms so that we can get patients the help they need.
Q: What wellness issues do you see most in summer and fall?
We see a lot of injuries so we try to emphasize different safety measures around the fun activities we all enjoy in the summer.