Nursing Phone Line Wait Times

Long waits on our call lines when you are trying to address the needs of your ill child is phonefrustrating.  Our goal is to meet the needs of your child as quickly as possible.  Here are some tips to help you get the information and help you need in the most efficient way.

  1. Our busiest call times are from 8:30am-10am each morning (especially Monday mornings).  All of our nurses pitch in to help take calls during these hours, but even so, there can be a wait time.  You may want to try to call our office after 10am if your child’s need is not urgent.
  2. If you call and hang up and try calling again, you will be placed at the back of the que.  If you are able to hold, please stay on the line to avoid increasing your wait time.
  3. If absolutely necessary, you may leave a message with our office staff for the nurse to call you back if you cannot wait on hold.  When the nurses have a free moment, they will get back with you later in the day.
  4. Consider checking our website www.forestviewpediatrics.com for information about taking care of common illnesses at home such as sore throat, fevers, colds, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.  There is information on all these illnesses in our “For Parents” section of our web site.  Many times these problems can be managed at home and do not need an appointment with a doctor.  If you still have questions after reviewing the information on the web site, give us a call.
  5. If you have medication refill requests, we recommend calling after 10 am.  Don’t forget to push option 2 for the refill request line.

We work to give all the children in our practice the best care possible and hope that when you do talk with our nurses or come in for an appointment, you feel that the care we give is top notch.

Julie Averbeck, RN, MS, CPNP

Julie Averbeck, RN, MS, CPNP

Surviving the Allergy Season

How often have you heard “my allergies are really bad this year?”  Children who suffer with seasonal allergies (or allergic rhinitis) can have a harder time concentrating in school, be more irritable, or be more tired.  Symptoms are often more severe in the spring or fall.  Children who have allergies to things like dust, mold, or pets which are often indoors, or who are exposed to second hand smoke, can experience allergy symptoms all year round.  The symptoms include:  sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, or itchy nose.  Sometimes symptoms are associated with a cough.  In this case, you may want to have your child evaluated for asthma since about 40% of children with allergic rhinitis have asthma as well.  It is unlikely that children under age 2 have developed seasonal allergies because it takes multiple exposures to allergens to develop a sensitivity.

The recommended treatment for allergies includes avoiding the things that trigger the symptoms and the use of medications.  For more severe symptoms, referral to an allergy specialist for allergen immunotherapy may be needed.

            Eliminating things that trigger allergies includes things like:

Staying indoors as much as possible

Keeping windows closed and using air conditioning to filter the air

Using saline nasal spray to wash out allergens in the nose after being outdoors 

Keeping pets out of sleeping areas

Cleaning regularly by dusting, vacuuming (with HEPA filter) and cleaning bed sheets and pillow cases weekly

For mild symptoms, over the counter medications can be tried.  To get the best effect, it is important to use these medications regularly (daily) during the allergy season which can last 8-12 weeks.   The fall allergy season usually ends with the first frost.

Some over the counter medications called antihistamines you can try include:  Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra which should be given at bedtime if given only once daily.  These medications should not make your child sleepy like Benadryl.  Benadryl can cause some side effects in young children such as agitation or decrease school performance in school age children because of sleepiness, so is not recommended for long term use.   

Decongestants can have a number of side effects and are not usually recommended for use in young children.  Decongestant nasal sprays such as Afrin should not be used longer than 3 days because there can be a rebound reaction of nasal congestion if it is stopped after longer use. 

For watery, itchy eyes, over the counter eye drops called Zaditor can be used in children age 3 or older.

If your child’s symptoms do not improve with avoiding allergens or the regular use of over the counter medications, be sure to make an appointment to see us for an evaluation of the symptoms and recommendations for treatment that are not available over the counter.  Research has shown that steroid nasal sprays can be very effective in controlling the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but these are not available without a prescription.  Any child with persistent or moderate to severe symptoms should also be evaluated by your doctor.

Julie Averbeck, RN, MS, CPNP

Julie Averbeck, RN, MS, CPNP

Summer Swimming Safety

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one to four years of age.   According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, children younger than age 5 represent more than 75 percent of pool submersion deaths and 78 percent of pool submersion injuries in the U.S. involving children younger than 15 years of age.

On average, there are almost 10 accidental drowning deaths a day in the US during summer months.

For every child 14 years and younger who died from drowning, 5 more received emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

It only takes 30 seconds in the water for a child to drown.

As we enter the summer swimming season, follow these general guidelines to ensure that your children remain safe while swimming:

Never leave your child alone in or near water including a bath tub, bucket of water, pool or lakes.  Most children who drown quietly slip into the water unnoticed by adults who are often nearby.

Talk to your child about the importance of only swimming when being supervised by an adult.

If you have a pool, install a fence around it and install doors with locks to keep children away from and out of the pool.  Install door latches at least 54 inches high so as to be out of the reach of children.

Place alarms on doors and windows that lead to the pool area.

Teach your children to swim at an early age to ensure they can protect themselves in the event they accidentally fall into water or swim unattended. Make sure to get professional lessons.

For older children, use the buddy system when swimming to keep them safe.

Keep both rescue equipment and a phone by the pool.

Keep toys away from the pool when not in use to prevent children from going in to retrieve them.

Never have a drop off pool party or allow your child to attend a drop off pool party if they are under the age of 8 years.

Never assume someone else is watching.  Appoint a designated adult as the observer for pool safety.  Many drowning occur while adults are present but not watching.

Empty all wading pools immediately after done using them.

Air filled swimming aids are not a safe substitute for life jackets and never rely solely on life jackets to ensure safety.

Follow these guidelines to have a safe and enjoyable summer of swimming.

 ~ Daniel Dorrington, MD, Forest View Pediatrics

Daniel Dorrington, MD

 

EPIC ON!

On June 1st (this Saturday!) we will be switching over to an electronic medical record (EMR).  The specific EMR that we chose is called Epic.  This is the same software Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin started to use system wide in November.  Our system and their system will be linked and will share information.

Please remember, anytime there is change, there are always some “growing pains” that come along with it.  I like to say, it’s a little like having a baby…. There’s a lot of anticipation, and then when the baby comes, no matter how ready you are, there is still a pretty steep learning curve.  Well, Epic is our baby right now and we’ve put a lot of time into getting ready for it, but there’s nothing like the real thing.  So we ask that you try to be as understanding as possible if we are going a little slower and your visit is taking a little longer.  It won’t be that way forever.  In fact, prior to coming to Forest View, I worked at a hospital that went from paper charts to Epic, so I can tell you that it does get faster and ultimately better.  Because that’s our real goal; to get better!  So even though there are going to be a few downsides, here are the upsides to you as a patient in the end.

1.) Shared notes withing the Children’s System means whether you are in the ER, a specialist office, or our office, we can pull up the exact note, the exact medication, or the exact x-ray you had done.  If you are outside of the system, we can print those things for you to take with you.

2.) There is an After Visit Summary (you may hear someone at the office mention an AVS) that will go out with you that will explain your diagnosis and medications.

3.) MyChart is a function that won’t be 100% when we start, as we are learning the rest of system, but down the road we see it as a great way to communicate with patients for scheduling, seeing labs, medication refills, and short notes to each other.

4.) Electronic prescribing means your prescription goes right to the pharmacy.  This does not quite mean it will be instantaneous, though.  Just like phoned in prescriptions, different pharmacies check their electronic prescriptions at different times.

5.) Other cool tools; like electronic growth charts, being able to see a graph of certain labs, immunizations linked directly to the Wisconsin Immunization Registry, and quick refills.

We’re excited to be taking this next leap forward in medicine along with the rest of Children’s system!  Thank you all in advance for being patient and understanding!

 

 ~Paul Veldhouse, MD; Forest View Pediatrics


Paul Veldhouse, MD

 

Spring Into Action

As I look outside my office window, I see a bright sunny day that lets me believe that the long, cold, wet spring is almost over.  With that in mind, it’s time for us to head to the great outdoors, and get our kids outside.  Let’s turn off our televisions and put away those IPads, IPods, Xbox games and get physically moving!

Just a few quick reminders in regards to the upcoming outdoor season:

  • Don’t forget to use your sunscreen.  My recommendation is to use a sunscreen with at least a SPF of 50.  I would also take any old sunscreen you may have from last year and throw it away.  I have seen many occasions, that using old sunscreen may cause children to break out with a red, itchy rash, especially if your child has very sensitive skin.
  • Secondly, since it’s a great time to start riding our bikes, make sure your children’s bikes are in good working condition.  Of course, you’ll also want to make sure they have an appropriate helmet that fits correctly and does not need to be adjusted.  There probably has been some growing during this winter, so you may need to adjust both their bike seats and helmets for safety.
  • Lastly, warmer weather brings excitement for water activities.  Start thinking about registering your children for swimming lessons, as these often fill up quickly!  There is nothing more important when it comes to water safety than making sure your child can swim well.

 Hope you enjoy the great outdoors!

~ Chris Zukowski, MD, Forest View Pediatrics

Chris Zukowski, MD

Our EPIC Transformation

We all know how much technology has impacted the way we live.  It’s hard to imagine not having our smartphones or Internet access.    We’re pleased to let our patients and families know that, effective June 1st, we will be switching to a new electronic health record (EHR.

The new system, Epic, is designed to give us, and all of the providers across Children’s Hospital, faster access to one medical record for your child.  We expect that the electronic health record will improve communication between providers, and increase safety.  One example of how Epic will improve care is when a patient is referred to a pediatric subspecialist in the Children’s Hospital network, that physician will have the child’s previous office visits, labs, and imaging studies.  Another example of a benefit with the new EHR is the ability to electronically send your prescription to your pharmacy before you even leave the office.

An exciting feature is the future availability of MyChart, which will allow parents secure access to  your child’s EHR. (This should be helpful for all those school forms asking for immunization dates.)

Already we have been updating patients’ medication and allergy information into the new system.  While the physicians have been using EPIC in the hospitals, this will be a new way of caring for patients in our office, so please be understanding that there will be a learning curve as all of us get used to the new system.  Our primary focus, of course, will continue to be providing the best patient care we can  to your children and your family. 

~ Robert Hartmann, MD, Forest View Pediatrics
Robert Hartmann, MD

 

Eating Right

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently came out with the “Choose My Plate” campaign to encourage healthy eating.  You can visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information.  They recommend that half your plate be fruits and vegetables.  When I talk with children and adolescents about their diets, I find many of them are having trouble getting enough servings of fruits and vegetables in their diet.  The recommendation is 5 servings a day.  That means a fruit or vegetable at every meal, maybe even both, and probably fruits or vegetables for snacks as well to be able to meet that goal.  Fruits and vegetables are high in essential nutrients for good health, have fiber for digestive health, and are often lower in calories than other food choices.

Many children tell me that they don’t like vegetables.  I always encourage them to try at least a taste.  Vegetables that they thought they didn’t like, may taste better to them if made in a new way.  The parent’s job is to offer their kids healthy choices at each meal and for snacks.  It is the child’s job to choose to eat them.  Some ways to encourage children to eat vegetables:

  • Model eating vegetables on a regular basis.
  • Have them help you plant and take care of a vegetable garden.  They may be more willing to eat something they helped grow.
  • Use dips or sauces to add flavor (many children like ranch dressing or melted cheese).
  • Have them participate making foods with vegetables.  One idea to make it fun is to make a 3 inch slice of celery into a car.  Use peanut butter in the center for protein, this will hold raisins upright in the “car” as drivers and passengers, and place round slices of carrots on toothpicks pushed through the piece of celery to make the wheels.
  • Cook shavings or small pieces of vegetable in foods that children like such as spaghetti sauce to add nutrients (e.g. carrots, green pepper).
  • Try the “Cheetos Cheat” (recently seen on Dr. Oz).  Crumble Cheetos on steamed broccoli to add flavor and crunch.
  • Experiment with child friendly recipes.  See the “Choose My Plate” web site for ideas.  The Healthy Lunch Challenge Cookbook has 54 recipes from America’s Jr. Chefs sponsored by an event at the White House hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama.
  • For older kids, have a contest on preparing the tastiest veggies.

 

Julie Averbeck, RN, MS, CPNP

Julie Averbeck, RN, MS, CPNP

 

 

Internet Safety

The following  tips have been set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep your family safe while on the internet:

It’s important to have a set of rules when your children use the Internet. Make sure your children understand what you consider appropriate and what areas are off-limits. Let them know that the rules are for their safety.

Safety first

The following are tips you can teach your children about online safety:

  • NEVER give out personal information unless a parent says it’s OK. This includes your name, address, phone number, age, race, school name or location, or friends’ names.
  • NEVER share passwords, even with friends.
  • NEVER meet a friend you only know online in person unless a parent says it’s OK. It’s best if a parent goes along and to meet in a public place. (Older teens that may choose not to tell a parent and go alone should at least go with a friend and meet in a public place.)
  • NEVER respond to messages that make you feel uncomfortable or hurt your feelings. Ignore these messages, stop all communication, and tell a parent or another adult you trust right away.

Good behavior

The following is what you can teach your children about how they should act online:

  • NEVER send mean messages online. NEVER say something online that you wouldn’t say to someone in person. Bullying is wrong whether it’s done in person or online.
  • NEVER use the Internet to make someone look bad. For example, never send messages from another person’s e-mail that could get that person into trouble.
  • NEVER plagiarize. It’s illegal to copy online information and say that you wrote it.

Time limits

Surfing the Web should not take the place of other important activities, including homework, playing outside, or spending time with friends. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting total screen time in front of a TV or computer to no more than 1 to 2 hours a day for children older than 2 years. An alarm clock or timer can help you keep track of time.

Other steps you can take

In addition to setting clear rules, you can do the following to create a safer online experience:

  • Surf the Web with your children.
  • Put the computer in a room where you can monitor your children. Computers should never be placed in a room where a door can be closed or a parent excluded.
  • Use tracking software. It’s a simple way to keep track of where your children have been on the Web. However, nothing can replace supervision.
  • Install software or services that can filter or block offensive Web sites and material. Be aware, however, that many children are smart enough to find ways around the filters. Also, you may find that filters may be more restrictive than you want.
  • Find out what the Internet use policies are at your child’s school or at your library.

Cyber Tipline

If you or your children come across anything illegal or threatening, you should report it to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Cyber Tipline. For more information, call 800/THE-LOST (800/843-5678) or visit the Web site at http://www.cybertipline.com.

AAP age-based guidelines for children’s Internet use

Up to age 10

Children this age need supervision and monitoring to ensure they are not exposed to inappropriate materials. Parents should use Internet safety tools to limit access to content, Web sites, and activities, and be actively involved in their child’s Internet use.

Ages 11 to 14

Children this age are savvier about their Internet experience; however, they still need supervision and monitoring to ensure they are not exposed to inappropriate materials. Internet safety tools are available that can limit access to content and Web sites and provide a report of Internet activities. Children this age also need to understand what personal information should not be given over the Internet.

Ages 15 to 18

Teens are savvier about their Internet experience; however, they still need parents to define appropriate safety guidelines. Parents should be available to help their teens understand inappropriate messages and avoid unsafe situations. Parents may need to remind teens what personal information should not be given over the Internet.

 

Source
The Internet and Your Family (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)