Imagine it is after bedtime, the hour is late, and suddenly, your little one develops a high fever. When traditional clinics are closed, after-hours healthcare options can provide timely medical attention for children outside of regular hours. Whether it’s a comforting visit to pediatric urgent care, a swift visit to the emergency room for urgent medical conditions that require immediate attention but are not life-threatening, or even a virtual consultation via telehealth, these choices ensure our young heroes get the necessary care they need, whenever they need it. 

What are after-hours health services?

After-hours consultations refer to medical care outside regular clinic hours, usually late at night, at weekends, or during holidays. These services are designed to address problems that do not need the emergency department but need immediate medical attention. 

GP access after-hours telehealth services

After-hours telehealth services often provide critical medical treatments from home, through video consultation. Here’s a list of after-hours services (however, specific services may vary depending on the platform and provider): 
  1. Medical certificates: Doctors can provide medical certificates after evaluating your condition, including after-hours telehealth consultations. This is especially important for documenting illness-related absences from work or school. 
  2. Prescriptions (Scripts): Doctors can write prescriptions for medications that may be required for your treatment. These medications can typically be issued electronically to a pharmacy of your choosing. 
  3. Access to GP services: After-hours telehealth services connect you with licensed general practitioners who can advise, diagnose, and propose treatment for various medical conditions. 
  4. Mental Health Treatment Plans: It can involve the creation and evaluation of mental health treatment plans, which can be part of managing long-term mental health disorders and accessing other mental health treatments. 
  5. Referrals: During a telehealth appointment, doctors might refer patients to specialists or perform diagnostic tests. This allows the opportunity for patients to receive continuous care and access to appropriate medical treatments. 

 The benefits of virtual visits for children

Virtual visits, or telehealth sessions, provide various benefits for children and their families: 
  1. Convenience: Virtual visits eliminate the need for travel, saving time and minimizing disturbances to everyday activities. This is especially useful for families with small children or those living in remote regions with limited healthcare services. 
  2. Accessibility: Families may now readily consult healthcare providers, including specialists who may not be available locally. This is critical for children who require specialized care or appointments with paediatricians. 
  3. Reduced illness exposure: By avoiding waiting rooms and in-person appointments, virtual visits can minimize exposure to infectious infections, which is especially essential for children with compromised immune systems or chronic health concerns. 
  4. Parental involvement: Virtual visits enable parents to actively participate in their child's healthcare, resulting in improved communication with clinicians and knowledge of treatment plans. 
  5. Efficiency: Virtual visits may be booked faster than in-person appointments, resulting in shorter wait times for examinations and treatments. 
  6. Continuity of care: Virtual visits allow for continued monitoring and follow-up care, ensuring that children receive constant medical attention and that their treatment plans are adjusted as necessary. 
  7. Comfort and familiarity: Children frequently feel more at ease and calm at home during virtual visits, which can help minimise anxiety connected with medical consultations. 
  8. Educational opportunities: Virtual visits allow parents and carers to learn more about their child's health condition, medications, and management options through interactive interactions with healthcare specialists. 

Common conditions treated via telehealth

Common conditions that are treated via telehealth include the following: 
  1. Upper respiratory infections (URIs): Evaluate symptoms such as cough, cold, sore throats and sinus infections and offer advice on handling these conditions remotely.
  2. Minor injuries: Get guidance and advice on injuries such as sprains, cuts, and bruises.
  3. Allergies: Parents can receive tips on managing seasonal or food allergy symptoms and medications.
  4. Skin conditions: Skin allergies such as rashes, eczema, insect bites, and minor infections can also be diagnosed and treated virtually on video calls with a registered doctor.
  5. Mental health concerns: Telehealth provides productive counselling and therapy sessions for mental health conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, and other behavioural problems. However, it may not be suitable for all cases, especially complex ones.  
  6. Nutritional counselling: Get aid in diet planning, weight management, and nutritional advice through virtual consultations. In some cases, a more in-depth assessment may require an in-person examination.  

Preparing for telehealth appointments with kids

Here are some tips for preparing for telehealth visits with children. These tips can help make virtual doctor visits smoother and more productive for both you and your child:
  • Select a time when your child is at ease and cooperative.  
  • Before beginning, make sure your internet and devices are working properly. 
  • Choose a calm, well-lit space with few distractions. 
  • Get your medical history and current issues ready. 
  •  Explain the appointment and encourage your child to participate constructively. 
  • Keep comfortable items available, such as toys or blankets. 
  • Write down any advice or instructions you get during the appointment. 
  • Discuss any necessary steps to be taken following the appointment. 
  • Provide comments on the session and raise any outstanding questions. 
So, after-hours health care for children isn’t just a service— it’s a saviour in disguise! By conquering accessibility barriers and embracing innovative solutions like telemedicine, we ensure that this timely assistance is always available whenever our little heroes need it most.    

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This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.