BAYADA Pediatrics Division Director Patty Watson and her Delaware team of pediatric in-home care specialists brought together parents, community resources, and experts in the pediatric health care continuum and hosted their seventh educational conference Special Children, Special Needs: Meeting the Challenges of Advocating for the Medically Complex Child.

Division Chief Iman Sharif, MD, MPH, MS, from Nemours Alfred I. duPont hospital—one of the top six children’s hospitals in the country—presented the physician’s view of how parents can ensure that their children are receiving the best care possible. “Follow the ‘Ask Me 3’ model,” she advised, which offers three questions for parents to ask: “What is my child’s main problem?”, “What do I need to do?”, and “Why is it important for me to do this?” She added, “This is a great way to see if you and your doctors are on the same page.”

Nancy L., a single mother on the Parent Panel, echoed the sentiment that communication is key. “Don’t expect anyone else to know your child and to know their needs without your help and your documentation.” Admitting, “Sometimes my child is not the challenge—I’m the challenge,” she went on to advise parents, “Make sure you document your child’s issues so you can effectively communicate to your child’s health care team.”

Moderator of the Parent Panel, BAYADA Nurse Melissa Young, RN, BSN, asked, “How can nurses help you advocate for your child?” Jonathan W., the father of a ventilator-dependent child, answered, “Empower us with questions to ask so we can make better care decisions.”

Other highlights included a presentation from BAYADA Director of Pediatric Clinical Operations Kathy Pfeiffer, RN, BSN, who noted the importance of communication to transition a child successfully to adult care, and a discussion with Delaware Lieutenant Governor Matthew Denn.

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