Wednesday, April 20

What works for us wednesday

Scheduling multiple appointments involving different clinics within Seattle Children's hospital can be a daunting task.  Living in Ferndale, Wa is like living almost on the canadian border so traveling to Seattle is.... a LONG drive. 

I like to make most of Tommy's appointments at Seattle Children's on a condensed day so we can make one trip and see everyone we need to.

It's taken awhile to figure out how to do this.

First, I schedule mostly 'like' appointments on the same day and same location.  And I ask the scheduler, whichever clinic you call first, to look at the schedules of the other clinics and try to schedule everything on the same day.  For example, I just scheduled opthamology and ent on the same day.  Tommy's left ear tube is almost out and his left eye (after clogged tear surgery) still isn't draining and gets alot of matter clogged onto it.  The scheduler spent about 10 minutes locating a day that would work.  Sometimes, the scheduler will even send a couple of emails inquiring about possibilities with different clinics schedules.  And then they will call you back with a date that works for all appointments.

I try to schedule appts that require Tommy to participate in the morning, his best behaved and sweetest time.   Audiology and visual tests are great for in the morning.  Then in the afternoon, just in case he is snoozing, are the appts that usually require minimal Tommy efforts and mostly discussions about continued care items.  I keep "Tommy's personal schedule and mood and possible naps" in my mind when I'm talking to the scheduler.

On a condensed date at Children's, I also ask my local pediatrician for all blood draws they would like.  There is no one better at drawing Tommy's blood than a handsome man named Hector.  Sometimes my local pediatrician will fax the labs needed straight down to Children's as an order, and sometimes they mail the order to me to hand carry down to Children's.  Of course I then stop at the grocery store and get some hard candies for Hector.  That man loves two things in life (that I'm aware of) hard candies and children.  I've even asked (when Tommy was sick in outpatient) to have Hector paged from inpatient rounds to draw Tommy's blood to figure out an emergent situation. 

The only clinic that I'm aware of that doesn't really work for us to condense is cardiology and that is mostly due to long echos and it seems that cardiology schedulers really don't look at other clinics to help consolidate with.  So, usually I keep Tommy's heart day as just that with perhaps labs for bloodwork.  And then separate days for his various other clinic needs.

Consolidated clinic days at Seattle Children's seems to work good by just asking your scheduler over the phone to help you coordinate some different clinics into the same day.  Good luck!  Oh, and I would love to hear from folks if you have even more tips, which I know a couple of you are very clever with how many clinic appts you can stuff into a day. 

One other tip, while you are at a clinic within Seattle Children's, grab their business card and ask them how best to communicate needs for an appt and write that on the back of the card.  All these cards go into Tom's care notebook and then I can take out the business card for the clinic I need to call and be reminded my dr only has appts there on Wednesday's OR the clinic warned me there is usually a three month wait so schedule early.

Tommy Adventures