A family doctor or a general practitioner (GP) is usually the first person you see when you or your child has a medical issue. GPs take care of the entire family. Note that most doctors are trained in one specific area, but family doctors have training in all areas of medicine. So, they provide all-rounded healthcare, including mental, physical, and emotional health regardless of a person’s sex.
Family doctors can help with preventative screening, mental health, and well-being advice, early childhood checks, etc. You can visit their medical clinic for almost anything, and they will refer you to a specialist if need be. Learn why family doctors are important and how to choose a suitable one for you.
Reasons to Have a Family Doctor
1. GPs Treat Various Medical Issues
Family doctors treat toddlers, teenagers, youths, mild-aged adults, and senior citizens. You can call them for general health issues such as rashes, flu symptoms, back pain, and others that don’t require emergency treatment.
2. Preventative Healthcare
Often, many severe conditions start from a minor problem that develops into a huge one as it is left untreated and undetected early. A family doctor can run pre-screening tests regularly to detect any condition and offer advice on the way forward. They also advise patients on steps to prevent illnesses, like making lifestyle changes. As a result, it could save you money and prevent chronic diseases from developing.
3. Referrals to Medical Specialist
If you or your family member is sick, your GP can treat the issue without needing a specialist to intervene. But some conditions need the patient to see a specialist. In that case, your GP is a good place to start. They can recommend you the best specialist, and when you begin the treatment with your specialist, the two doctors can work together to ensure that you gain your health back.
Note that some insurers will need you to get a referral to a specialist from your family doctor to get the coverage.
4. Your Family Doctor Understands Your Personal History
If a doctor treats you for a long time, they’ll understand your medical history in and out. Thus, it can help them make a proper diagnosis and watch out for any warning signs of your health. Besides your history, your family doctor also knows your family health history, which is essential in preventative care.
For instance, if your GP knows that you had a certain condition at an early age and your mother also had it, that is a red flag. So, they may recommend genetic counseling to other family members who may be at risk.
How to Choose a Family Doctor?
Finding a good family doctor can seem like a daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be. Several things can help you find the best GP for you and your family.
You can start by checking your insurer’s website for a list of the GPs they recommend. However, please note that not all insurance companies have this list. If your insurer doesn’t provide this information, ask for referrals from your family and friends or research online to find the best clinics around you.
Once you have a list of suitable family doctors, check their website and call the clinic to feel what it’ll be like working with them. This will help you narrow your list to one or two doctors. Then, now schedule an appointment with the doctor.
Consider the location of the GP practice. You don’t want to choose a place that’s far away since you will be going for regular checkups. Also, determine whether the staff is friendly and if they appear capable of taking care of you and your family. Again, look out for things like generosity, curiosity in learning about your medical history, listening skills, etc., in a general practitioner.
Family doctors are essential in caring for your overall well-being and that of your family. As they understand your history, they can offer the best-personalized care for you. However, you need to ensure that you work with a reputable and trustworthy GP. Use the above tips to find the best practitioner for you.