How Do I Choose the Best Children's Hospital?

Autumn Rivers

Medical care for children may best be obtained in a hospital that specializes in treating kids. Choosing the best hospital to treat your child involves many considerations, including the hospital's track record in treating the child's condition. Whether the doctors and other staff members are both knowledgeable and kind — information typically available through online reviews, word of mouth and public records — also is a consideration, as is the general atmosphere of the facility. Taking a tour of a children's hospital can give you an idea of the atmosphere and an idea of the equipment used. The location of the children's hospital you choose also is important as a matter of convenience and, potentially, as a matter of life and death, while cost and insurance coverage also should be weighed.

Some large pediatric hospitals focus on diseases that primarily strike children.
Some large pediatric hospitals focus on diseases that primarily strike children.

Among the first things to consider is the quality of care your child would likely receive at the pediatric hospital of your choice. You can find a lot of information online about pediatric hospitals, with review sites often being among the best resources. Reading the reviews and ratings left by the parents of previous and current patients of the hospital is one of the few ways to gain some insight into each children's hospital in your area. If you are concerned about the quality of the doctors, then you can usually find out whether there are any medical malpractice cases pending against them when you check public information websites, which should list both open and closed cases. If the children's hospital you are researching employs several doctors with complaints formally lodged against them, then you should probably look elsewhere.

Another way to find out the quality of care your child can expect to receive is to take a tour of the children's hospital. This allows you to meet the medical staff that will be responsible for your child's care, so you can get an idea of whether the employees seem to be reliable, knowledgeable and in possession of a good attitude in general. You and your child may be in constant contact with the staff members during the treatment period, so it is usually a good idea to make sure you are comfortable with them. A tour also can help you get a look at the facility so you can ensure that the equipment is modern, in good condition and the appropriate size for children. Taking tours at a few pediatric hospitals will let you compare the environment of each.

Once you know the quality of both the employees and the hospital itself, you should consider the practical details. For example, you likely will want to make sure the children's hospital of your choice accepts your insurance plan. If you do not have insurance, or it will not cover all the expenses, then you should find out the approximate price of each procedure so you can compare the costs to those of other hospitals. You also are encouraged to take the location of the children's hospital into consideration, because it is usually best to choose one close to you in case you have to visit often.

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