People lead busy lives, and managing doctor appointments for the entire family can be challenging – especially if a different physician is needed for each family member according to age or health concern. Getting everyone to their appointments might require trips to different doctors in different locations.
Family and community medicine is a branch of healthcare that addresses some of these problems. Specialists in family and community medicine are devoted to providing personal, comprehensive and continuing care for the individual and the entire family across the lifespan. This includes newborn and pediatric care, obstetrics and gynecology, preventive health care, adult medicine, and geriatric services.
UK’s Family & Community Medicine doctors are primary care physicians trained to meet the diverse health needs of children and families, and they are committed to establishing long-term relationships with their patients.
‘Caring for the entire family’
“We have been caring for families across Kentucky since the inception of the UK College of Medicine and have provided loving and personal care to thousands of Kentuckians,” says UK Family & Community Medicine’s Dr. Roberto Cardarelli. “Our passion is caring for the entire family in terms of wellness and chronic care and being a leader in the nation in the specialty of family medicine.”
This approach has helped families such as the Davies-Thompson family of Lexington.
When Betsy Davies’ and Nathan Thompson’s son Michael was born in 2005, Davies needed to find a pediatrician. Between recommendations from friends and an internet search, she became overwhelmed by the number of choices. She really wanted a family care physician who could follow Michael from infancy into childhood and beyond.
Davies did not have a primary care physician, and she thought it made sense for her to search for a physician for herself as well as Michael. She didn’t know it at the time, but her search would eventually lead to a centralized health home for her entire family at UK.
UK Family & Community Medicine providers came across Davies’ radar several times during her search, but the tipping point for Davies was an article that said UK Family & Community Medicine provided prenatal and newborn home health visits, a little-known service that many family and community medicine doctors provide.
Care for children and their parents
At UK Family & Community Medicine, medical residents work alongside the physicians. The residents are trained in pediatrics, including newborn care, breastfeeding support, well-child care and acute care, which may at times require a hospital stay or an emergency-department visit.
“Participating in the care of children is one of the most rewarding parts of my clinic,” said Dr. Jessica Setser, chief resident at UK Family & Community Medicine. “Parents trusting me with the care of their child and allowing me to become part of their lives is truly a blessing. I love to watch children grow and cultivate healthy relationships between families and the healthcare world.”
After a Family & Community Medicine physician made an initial home health visit for baby Michael, Davies established a relationship with Dr. Shannon Voogt for Michael’s care. She then enlisted Voogt to manage general and preventive care for herself, too. And not long after, her husband did the same.
Managing chronic health problems
Davies’ husband, Nathan Thompson, manages several chronic health problems. He suffered a serious health crisis a couple of years ago – a sudden, unexplained illness with multiple symptoms, including dizziness that left him unable to safely walk, drive, work or hold their son without someone being nearby.
“I suggested to Nathan that he see my physician,” Davies said, “and he has been very happy with his care since that time.”
The family has been so impressed with the service they receive that when Davies’ 71-year-old mother moved to Lexington, it was an easy decision to have her care transferred to Family & Community Medicine.
“The care my family receives at UK Family & Community Medicine is wonderful,” Davies said. “Dr. Voogt, the residents and nurses work well together to go over information we need and give Michael his developmental assessments at his appointments. They take time to answer questions, and I never feel like they are in a rush to get out of the room.”
Voogt said that knowing her patients well helps her find the answers to sometimes-confusing problems.
“I love family medicine because my day is never boring. I see everything from newborns to older adults with a lot of chronic medical problems,” Voogt said. “I have been there with my patients during birth and when they are close to death. The relationships that I form with my patients are what make it all worthwhile.”