I have been a Family Nurse Practitioner for almost seventeen years. I worked at Kosair Hospital (now known as Norton Children's Hospital) for six years, prior to that as an Onocology/Renal/Transplant nurse. I also worked at Norton Hospital while attending nursing school at the University of Louisville. I have spent all of my professional years working with children and families. I cannot imagine doing anything else. But the face of healthcare and insurance and its cost has changed dramatically in my years of practice.
The ever changing dilemma of health insurance coverage for ourselves and our family affects us all. As a mother and wife keeping up with what is covered in my plan, annual deductibles, pharmacy benefits, co-pays and in and out of network providers is a huge undertaking. Once you think you have it down a new enrollment period is upon you and it changes again. One thing that I am certain of is you need to understand your plan and be an advocate for yourself. Take advantage of the programs your insurance company has in place to keep costs down, ask questions, be friendly with your health insurance representatives and ASK QUESTIONS. With the passage of "Obamacare" a few years back one of the most beneficial components is wellness benefits for all at no or minimal cost. This is especially important for our children as they grow. They need to be seen at each recommended and scheduled time for Well Baby-Child/Adolescent/College Age student visits. The importance of seeing a trusted and well informed Pediatrician/Osteopath/Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant is imperative for health guidance and illness prevention in our next generation of adults. The rise in healthcare costs and a US population that seems to get less fit each year should be a concern for us all. Our children truly are our future and how we raise them and teach them will impact who they are as adults. I believe healthcare is a basic right but the idea that it should come without financial responsibility and accountability is a reality we likely will not see again in our lifetime. So plan and prepare, realize that health insurance is part of a famly budget. Here are some websites to help you begin to get informed. A healthy mind and body is essential for us all.
By Dr. Kathleen Maurer
It's time to schedule physicals!!!
Did you now that the Academy of Pediatrics recommends a yearly physical for all school aged children? Those who sign up to play sports or register for summer camps are required to have a physical before they can participate. When time is short and schedules are busy, it might seem convenient to stop in at the local retail clinic at your grocery store or pharmacy. When children seem healthy, parents may wonder if it is really necessary that they schedule a yearly visit at their pediatrician's office, but there are some very good reasons why this is important:
-Your child's pediatrician or nurse practitioner is familiar with your child and has access to their medical records, including their complete medical history, immunizations, growth charts, allergies, medication, and other important information
-A yearly exam may pick up on health issues that are not always obvious, such as high blood pressure, scoliosis, a new heart murmur, a concerning skin lesion, abnormalities of growth or abnormal pubertal development
-If an abnormality is found at the yearly exam, your pediatrician is able to order labs or imaging, make referrals and arrange appropriate follow up
-Guidelines for yearly exams include important screenings for health problems, and age-specific discussions about topics such as nutrition, safety, body changes, risky behaviors, etc
-Yearly exams provide an opportunity for your child to become comfortable with their physician, and less likely to be overly anxious about doctor visits in the future
-If your child is due for immunizations these can be provided at the yearly exam
-You may have heard the term "Medical Home" which has become an important concept within this past few years. It is widely recognized that patients are likely to receive better care if they have one primary physician or group where all of their records are in one place and all of their health care is co-ordinated.
So call early to get your children in for their physicals and get the jump on sports season! Some families schedule their yearly physicals around the time of their child's birthday, and others come in during the spring and summer so they will be ready for camp or conditioning for team sports. We have forms available at our office for school physicals and sports physicals. If your child needs a camp physical or if their school has their own form, please bring them in when you come.
We look forward to seeing you!
Welcome to our March Blog post!
We are all bombarded with claims that this diet or eliminating that food will solve all of our overweight or chronic health problems. I hope to clarify some of the current popular nutrition concepts and their common features.
What is Clean Eating? This way of eating and drinking is about eating more of the best and healthiest foods and less of unhealthy processed ones. Look at an ingredients list on an add-a-meat, all included box supper package. If the list has ingredients you can't pronouce or don't know the reason for, stay away from it. Like yougurt: milk, the healthy bacteria that fermented it, perhaps fruit and some sweetner, perhaps vanilla makes sense. But a list of strange thickeners and product stretchers does not. Look at a hot dog vs. a sustainably sourced piece of beef, or a processed cheese vs. a block of real cheese without the hormone used to make cows make more milk, tater tots vs. real potatoes, peanut butter with sugar or corn syrup or a peanut butter made only of peanuts with salt. Many packaged foods contain high sodium and sugar too.
Next opt for real fruits and vegetables. As adults we need 4-5 cups daily of fruits and vegetables for optimal health. For every serving of each I have read that we live longer. Other recommendations are increasing whole grains, looking for whole wheat when buying bread and pasta and including some of the many other options like oats, quinoa and brown over white rice. The processing strips away some essential nutrients like selenium, magnesium and fiber. Try to eliminate packaged refined carbohydrate "foods" like cookies, cakes and pastries. Try to decrease meats to reduce saturated fats and increase the nuts and plant proteins using meat as less a centerpiece and more of an ingredient. So, upping the prominence of fruits and vegetables, depending when possible on fresh or frozen produce and less processed food: These are the guidelines. Eggs, fish, nuts, beans - these are great protein sources.
What is the 5-2-1-0 Plan? This is a nutritional program to help prevent childhood obesity and you'll see posters in our exam rooms mentioning it. I have read, and I think most agree that it is a healthy framework for all ages.
5 servings of fruits and vegetables (sound familiar?)
2 hours or less of screen time (other than computer homework)
1 hour of exercise
0 sugared drinks
I like to ask children at check ups who express dissatisfaction with their body when we discuss their growth chart, how they do on this list. Usually we can identify a habit to change to feel better about their body image.
What is the Mediterranean Diet? This is the diet most often cited by nutritionists to decrease heart disease, many chronic diseases, type 2 diabetes and perhaps even ADHD in children, according to a recent article in the publication Pediatrics. Think of all the principles of clean eating above and add to that decreasing red meat and encouraging fatty fish several times per week and some poultry. The ADHD findings may be an association with poor impulse control or the postivie effect of some of the micromutrients in fruits and vegetables or the Omega 3's which are good for the brain in certain fish like Salmon, Tuna and Makeral.
So, as I first asked, what should we eat? Furthermore, how should feed our children? Remember that our example and what we buy are how our children will choose their likes. Remember that a toddler often has to taste a food ten times to get a taste for it and that infants are already accustomed to our "flavors" from their exposure to them in the womb via amniotic fluid and through breast milk. The best diet is one rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, quality dairy, fish, poultry and eggs and avoiding processed foods and choosing healthy oils like olive and nut oils over saturated ones like hydrogenated oils, transfats and butter. Please ask any of our providers about your families diet if you would like to know more or have any questions. Bon appetit!
The winter months bring illness season around each year. One of the most common questions parents ask when their child is sick is "When can she go back to school or daycare?" It is an important question as parents need to work, but they also want their child to be healthy while not putting other children at risk for illness as well.
While some illnesses have a specific amount of time that is recommended for exclusion, many have a more general guideline. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) uses a general approach that says a child should stay home with an illness if: the illness prevents comfortable participation, the need for care is more than can be given at the facility, or it poses a risk of harmful spread of disease to others. Your daycare may have more specific guidelines and procedures so it is good to know those as well.
As always, ask one of us for guidance on return to child care. Also, use the AAP's recently updated article from healthychildren.org for more information. Go to healthychildren.org in the Family Life section and search "When to Keep Your Child Home from Child Care."
Welcome to our Blog! Each month one of our providers will be posting about a topic that covers important information related to children's healthcare. We invite you to suggest topics that you would like to see covered in our blog. This page is for you and your kids. To suggest a topic just call our office and let the Reception desk know you would like to make a suggestion for the Blog. That suggestion will be relayed to our providers. Welcome and please let us know next time we see you what you think, we value your feedback!
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