Advocating for your little ones

As parents it is SO important to always trust your instincts when it comes to your children. You know your child better than anyone. This includes nurses, doctors, paramedics and other health care professionals.

If you have been given a diagnosis that you think is incorrect, if a medical professional tells you your child is “fine” but you strongly believe something is wrong, or if your are in the hospital or waiting room and you feel your child is getting sicker TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS MAMA, it’s time to advocate on your child’s behalf.

Ahhh do I have to, surely the nurse / doctor knows best?

We know it can feel uncomfortable to question or disagree with a healthcare professional, but the truth is healthcare professionals are humans too, which means sometimes we get things wrong.

Remember you are an expert when it comes to knowing your child. If something doesn’t seem right or they are not acting normally, speak up! And remember you are always entitled to a second opinion.

But how?

When advocating on behalf of your children we want you to be firm but polite. We have created a helpful acronym for you if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to advocate for your child.

We want you to state your CASE.


1). Communicate early- talk with healthcare professionals and voice your concerns or confusion. The sooner you speak up, the sooner they can help. If voicing your concerns early has not worked move on to step 2.

2). Ask specific questions- knowledge is power in healthcare, so the more information you have the more confident you are going to feel. If you are in hospital (including the waiting room) and are concerned for your child, you can speak with the triage nurse or request to see the nurse in charge or the patient liason officer.

Some good questions to ask if you don’ feel like your concerns are being heard include:

  • I’m really worried about my child, this is not normal for them, can you explain why you are not concerned?
  • I can tell my child is getting sicker and i”m really worried, can you please reassess them?
  • Im really worried about my child and feel as if something has been missed, may i please get a second opinion?
  • I don’t feel like my concerns are being heard, can we please discuss this and make a plan to ensure my child is safe?
  • My child has these specific red flag symptoms indicating they are critically unwell (As learnt in a Cradle & Kin course well done you!) i believe these require urgent medical assessment, is my child going to be seen straight away?

Some other helpful questions to ask could include:

  • How do you treat this condition in the hospital?
  • How long will we need to stay in the hospital?
  • May i have a pamphlet or some more reading on this?
  • Im sorry but i don’t quite understand, can you explain that in another way please?
  • What are the complications of this condition?
  • Can you tell me what that medication is and how it works?
  • What are the side effects?
  • How long should my child take it for?
  • Is there anything that can be done to make my child more comfortable?
  • How do I manage this condition at home?
  • What signs or symptoms would indicate we need to come back to hospital?
  • When should we follow up with our GP?
  • I’m sorry but i don’t feel comfortable with that decision, what are the alternative options?
  • I don’t feel comfortable being discharged as i’m still very concerned, can we please discuss other options?

3). Speak to the team – when your child has been admitted to hospital they will have a designated team of nurses and doctors responsible for their care. Find out who the team is so you have a direct point of contact for any concerns you might have.

4). Escalate your concerns – if you are worried for your child and previous attempts to advocate have not been successful, you need to find out the process to escalate your concerns at that specific hospital or GP clinic.

Ask your GP, the triage nurse, the nurse in charge or patient liason officer what their escalation process involves and begin the process.

If you are in hospital and you are worried your child is getting sicker, some states have a designated hotline you can call to have your child clinically reviewed, they are:

WA (Aishwarya’s care call) pick up the pink phone in most emergency departments, you can also Google the specific number for each hospital.

QLD (Ryan’s Rule) 13 HEALTH or 13 43 25 84

NSW (REACH) call 2222 on any hospital phone and advise you want to make a REACH call

ACT (CARE) (02) 6244 3337

NT – speak to triage nurse and / or patient liaison officer and ask about their escalation process

VIC – speak to triage nurse and / or patient liaison officer and ask about their escalation process

TAS – speak to triage nurse and / or patient liaison officer and ask about their escalation process

SA – speak to triage nurse and / or patient liaison officer and ask about their escalation process.

If you want to learn more about how to advocate for your children and keep them safe in an emergency situation, book in a course with us today!

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