When choosing a healthcare provider, there are a number of basic factors to be considered. Are you young, or are you an older adult? Are you looking for a healthcare provider for your kids? Are you relatively healthy, or do you have chronic health issues?
While you are considering your choices, you may be surprised to know that there is one type of provider who can meet the needs of everyone for virtually any reason: family practice providers. There are a few things you should know about the practice of family medicine before you make your choice.
- You Can Bring the Whole Family
Family practice providers have specialized medical education and training in helping all people live healthier lives. That means, if you wish, your spouse and children can all have the same primary care provider that you have. They can treat babies, children, young adults, older adults, men, women, pregnant women, and the entire community.
- They Want to Keep You Healthy
Family practice providers are very attuned to what you need to stay healthy. That means they will make recommendations to help you prevent illness and promote health. For instance, they will have a record of your immunizations and will advise you of when you are due. If you have questions or concerns about certain vaccines, they are there to answer your questions.
They will also order diagnostic tests to screen for illnesses that you or your family members may be at risk for. For example, there are specific timelines for your first cholesterol check. Most women from ages 50 to 75 also need a mammogram every other year to screen for breast cancer. Your healthcare practitioner will recommend that you have a colonoscopy at a certain age, depending on your family health history and your own personal health history.
Sometimes preventive medicine requires tests based on more specific criteria such as lifestyle. For example, male smokers should have an abdominal ultrasound at age 50 to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. If you smoke, your provider may advise that you have an X-ray periodically to check your lungs.
As for infants, it is recommended that a baby’s weight and length be recorded at each checkup, and that their vision be checked at least once by age 5. Whatever your individual needs, your family practice provider will be looking out for you.
- They Love to Teach
“Knowledge is power.” This statement is especially true in the relationship between your family practice provider and you – and your provider will be your teacher, your coach, and your cheerleader about anything you need to stay healthy or get healthier.
For instance, you can expect advice on diet and exercise, how much water to drink, and what vitamins are worth taking. They can explain your medications to you so you know why you’re taking them, when to take them, and what potential side effects you might experience. But that’s not all. They want to hear about your feelings too. They will have valuable information to help you through your anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
Whatever you need to know in order to achieve optimum health, you can find out from your family medicine provider.
- They’re Excellent at Managing Chronic Illnesses
Because family medicine providers are able to meet all the healthcare needs of people of all ages, they are very good at managing chronic illnesses. They will refer you if they think you need to see a specialist, but they are more than capable of working with you to manage diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, congestive heart failure, and any number of other chronic health issues.
In fact, you will not only receive prescriptions for medications and be monitored on the progression of your illness, but you will also be advised about any lifestyle adjustments you can make to keep your chronic illnesses under control.
- They Look at the Whole Person
Prescriptions and recommendations are wonderful and always come with your best interest in mind. However, what works for one person may not work for another, and your practitioner will be in the best position to make an educated decision about how your own body might respond to various things.
For example, your family medicine practitioner will know if you work long hours without many breaks, in which case you will be prescribed something that doesn’t have to be taken throughout the day (if possible). Maybe you need to get more exercise to manage your diabetes, so your provider will help you come up with a plan that works for you and takes everything into consideration.
- Healthy People Live in Healthy Communities
You might be surprised to know that your family medicine provider is not only thinking about you and your health, but that of the whole community. Family practice providers are aware of any challenges your community might be facing to provide a safe and healthy environment for its citizens. They will also know of any illnesses many in the community might be facing, so they are prepared to treat you if you are affected.
Believe it or not, even the antibiotic you are prescribed may be specific to where you live. A family practice provider will take all this into account when helping you achieve good health.
Family Healthcare Providers in Greater Seattle
Here at FamilyCare of Kent, our family nurse practitioners believe in patient-centered care that is safe and effective, and that is helping you achieve your healthiest life. We treat our patients with the same compassion we would want for our loved ones.