Relationship With the Medical Team

The assessment should explore the nature of the patient's and family's relationships with and feelings about the medical team. Such an examination may identify communication problems with or a lack of trust in the medical team. To help clarify the nature of the working relationship between the medical team and the family, the consultant can ask questions such as these: "Do you feel the team has been helpful and is on your side? Do they seem to understand how you feel and what you need? Are there things that you wish you could change?" Patients and families who have had previous or ongoing medical failures and who have felt "hurt" or "let down" by their physicians are prone to have more problematic relationships. Reviewing past and current experiences can identify critical issues that have the potential to interfere with the child's treatment and well-being.

Furthermore, the health care system can interact in complex ways with the family's emotional state, behaviors, lifestyle, and illness treatment to impact the medical team and ultimately health outcome. Families may be confronted with limitations in ob taining necessary or optimal medical care. Many medical expenses are not covered by health insurance. Finding an accessible physician may be hindered by limitations in health insurance provider networks.

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