Module 4: Eliciting Parents' Concerns


Eliciting parents' concerns at the beginning of a visit improves communication between clinicians and parents by increasing the likelihood that concerns will be addressed during the visit. When parents notice that their clinician considers their concerns important, their satisfaction with the quality of care is likely to increase. This section reviews how addressing what parents identify as important helps build rapport, demonstrates respect, and lays the foundation for partnerships between physicians and parents focused on identifying and meeting children's needs. By eliciting parents' concerns about their children's development, providers can help parents share triumphs as well as challenges of child-rearing. Health care providers can also use information about parents' successes to help parents devise strategies to address problems. It includes:

In the Parent's Own Words

When the doctor asks me about my concerns and gives me the information I need in order to address those concerns, we're building a relationship. It helps me feel confident that I'm doing a good job as a parent. I think that for most parents—it's really important that their child's doctor cares about their individual child and doesn't just lump them into the general population of kids overall. Parents care so deeply about their child's health and well-being, they really need the doctor to individualize the visit according to their specific child.
—Excerpt from an interview with the mother of 3-year-old and 6-month-old boys

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