When your child has complex medical issues or special needs, visiting the doctor’s office offers its own challenges. Do you have the right equipment? Back-up batteries? Should you give a g-tube fed child a feed before or after the visit? What if the doctor is running late? Do you have the specialist notes? Referral? Those challenges seem to grow exponentially when something happens ‘after hours’ and your child needs to visit an urgent care (along with your stress levels).

Luckily, the team at PM Pediatrics specializes in urgent care medicine for ALL kids, including those with underlying medical conditions. That said, there are certain things you can do to make sure your visit goes as smoothly as possible and that you can focus on the primary task at hand: comforting your child.

Tips for Visiting An Urgent Care When Your Child Has Complex Medical Issues


As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. Planning for the unexpected can make things easier. You probably have binders of medical history for your child, but keeping an accurate “cliff notes” version will help when visiting an urgent care. Be sure to include your child’s underlying diagnosis, a surgical history, a list of specialty medical providers on your child’s care team and their contact information, and all medicines with strengths and dosages. 

“I can’t tell you how many times a parent will forget to mention their child’s underlying diagnosis when I meet them for the first time,” said Dr. Christina Johns, senior Medical Advisor for PM Pediatrics. “This is not because they want to keep something from me. It’s just not the first thing on their mind in an emergency.  A child with a brain shunt may have stomach pain and vomiting that doesn’t SEEM related to the shunt, but it may very well be.”


You may or may not have gone to medical school, but when you parent a child with complex medical needs you’ve been through the ‘medical trenches.’ You have as much expertise about your child as the medical team, so speak up. You are your child’s best advocate. Working collaboratively with the medical provider and respecting one another is the best possible scenario for your child.

“Tell the healthcare professional about the details that are unique to your own child, and tell them what you think, even if it “goes against” the medical convention,” said Dr. Johns.  “ It’s a team effort, friends, and just as I’ll ask you to be patient and flexible with the medical team, the clinicians need to listen to you and incorporate your input as well.  This is a big deal. If you feel like you aren’t being heard, then by all means speak up and say just that. “


A team of people help care for your child. If you’re heading to Urgent Care — and the situation allows — call your pediatrician or specialist to let them know your taking your child to be seen. Just like you want to work with your child’s care providers, you want your specialists to work together, too. Opening the lines of communication is helpful.


It’s cold and flu season. While that’s hard on all kids, it can especially take a toll on kids with fragile immune systems. Before “the ick” even hits, make sure you’re prepared to keep your child hydrated and to help them breathe.  Have you refilled your medicines for the nebulizer? Is your nebulizer working? Do you have Pedialyte on hand? What things help comfort your child when they aren’t feeling well? Do you have an extra bottle of Motrin or Tylenol? A little advanced planning means that you won’t have to make a middle of the night stop on your way home from the urgent care.


PM official logo full color transparent elementsEstablished in 2005, PM Pediatrics is the nation’s largest provider of specialized pediatric urgent care, with 50 locations nationwide and over 2,000,000 visits to date. Each location is staffed by pediatric emergency specialists trained in treating newborn through college-age patients for a broad array of illnesses and injuries including asthma, fever, infections, dehydration, fractures, wounds requiring stitches and more. The company’s mission is to provide outstanding clinical care with a focus on minimizing pain and unnecessary tests in a unique office environment tailored for pediatric patients. PM Pediatrics accepts most types of insurance and features short wait times and convenient hours, 365 days a year. The company is proud to be an eight-time honoree to Inc. magazine’s 500|5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. For more information about PM Pediatrics and a list of locations, visit pmpediatrics.com. Follow PM Pediatrics on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.