We understand that the health and well-being of your child is very important. You may be wondering about a medical evaluation for your child and/or a professional has recommended that your child should have a medical evaluation. Our specialized medical team can do that at our Detroit location of the Kids-TALK CAC.
What is a medical evaluation at the CAC?
We understand that medical exams may be scary for you and your child, so our approach is designed to be gentle. Our team of experts has experience working with children who have been through similar situations and know how to make them feel safe and comfortable. They are kind, caring, and understand the sensitive nature of these exams. We have found that these exams are very comforting and therapeutic for the children (and their caregivers), because they can ask any questions or share any concerns that they have. It is also an opportunity for your child to receive a full check-up, so you and your child can ask any questions you have about them being physically healthy. A medical evaluation at the CAC should be offered to any child when there are concerns of sexual abuse.
Medical evaluations at Kids-TALK CAC are different than examinations at the hospital, health department, or a primary care doctor, as all of our medical team has specialized training in child abuse, neglect, and trauma. They are able to assess any possible physical, emotional, or psychological effects the abuse might have had. During the appointment, the medical team will determine if there are any signs of injury or infection, perform laboratory testing, and provide treatment as needed. The medical team will address any concerns you or your child may have about their body or physical health. We have created a child-friendly and private environment at the medical clinic at Kids-TALK CAC to ensure you and your child feel safer and more comfortable.
Caregivers are able to accompany their child(ren) to the examination and be in the examination with their child. Many children choose to have a parent/caregiver in the room with them for comfort during the appointment. Other children prefer to do the evaluation on their own. We ask that the parents/caregivers please respect and support your child’s wishes.
How long is the appointment?
We allow approximately two hours for each medical evaluation appointment. While the appointment may not last all of that time, it is important you and your family have enough time to feel comfortable, ask questions of the medical team, and do not feel rushed. Much of the appointment time is spent speaking with the doctor who will gather your child’s health history, explain the examination, and answer any questions that you may have. The doctor and the nurse will also speak with your child about their health and well-being and will explain the examination to your child in a way that they can understand. The physical examination is about 15-20 minutes in length. Remember, we are here to help and make sure that you feel safe and cared for throughout the entire process.
What to expect when you arrive:
When you and your family arrive to the Detroit location of Kids-TALK CAC please park in our onsite parking! Here are few things that you can expect:
- Warm welcome: You will be greeted by friendly staff members who are there to help and support you and your child. They will welcome you with warm smiles and friendly greetings and make you feel welcome and comfortable.
- Safe and caring environment: Our CAC is designed to be a safe and welcoming place for children and families. You will meet our front desk team member, our nurse, and doctor. The nurse will show you the medical clinic and where the restrooms are. The medical clinic includes spaces that are designed to be child-friendly and make children feel comfortable while they are at Kids-TALK CAC.
- Checking in for your appointment: When you arrive for the appointment you will go to the larger (main) house of the CAC. You will be asked to provide identification and your child’s medical insurance card. Even though we ask for these documents, the appointment will be without cost to your family. If you have private insurance, the CAC will assist you if you receive any copays/charges for the appointment. If your child does not have insurance, they will still be able to have an examination without cost.
- Respect and understanding: The Kids-TALK CAC team will treat you and your family with respect, kindness, and understanding. They will value the diversity that you bring and are dedicated to making sure that you feel safe and cared for during your time at the CAC. Again, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask the team members, they are there to support you and your family.
What can we expect with the medical evaluation?
The examination is performed by a specially trained child abuse pediatrician and a Registered Nurse. They will do a “head to toe” check-up, which includes the private area, that is similar to a check-up that your child would get at their doctor’s office. The medical team wants to make sure that every part of your child’s body is healthy, including their private areas. Because of the special equipment that we have, the examination is non-invasive, which means nothing will go inside of your child’s body. The team will use a special magnifying light called a colposcope during part of the exam. It does not touch your child during the exam. Your child may need to be tested for sexually transmitted infections, which may include bloodwork.
The exam is not painful; however, children sometimes may feel anxious, embarrassed, or uncomfortable about the exam. The medical team will take as much time as necessary providing explanation, reassurance, and comfort to put your child at ease. Small children can even sit on their caregiver’s lap during the examination.
Your child will be given a cozy blanket to use during the examination and entertained with fidget toys. Throughout the exam, our team will provide emotional support to you and your child. They understand that this can be a difficult and emotional time, and they are there to listen, support, and offer resources as needed.
Will the exam show that my child was sexually abused?
Most children have no physical injuries in their genital or anal areas. This does not mean the sexual abuse did not occur. Many types of sexual abuse that occur are not likely to cause injury. You will have an opportunity to sit down with the doctor after the exam is completed to discuss the results and ask any questions you may have.
How should you prepare your child for their medical appointment at Kids-TALK CAC?
It is common for a child to feel nervous or worried before coming to the CAC; however, the Kids-TALK CAC team is here to help and support your child. Preparing your child to visit Kids-TALK CAC and sharing with them about what to expect when they visit is important to help them feel more comfortable and prepared. Here are some other suggestions to help your child prepare for their visit to the CAC:
- Explain the purpose: You can share with your child that they will meet with a doctor and nurse before their appointment who will explain everything step by step, answer any questions, and talk about any concerns that they have. You can explain the appointment to them using simple and clear language. For example, you could say that that the medical evaluation is a special check-up done by a doctor and nurse who are trained to help children who have been through similar situations. Make sure that your child knows that the evaluation is private and reassure them that the purpose of the appointment is to make sure that they are healthy and to help them feel better. Highlight that that they are in control of their body and that they are encouraged to speak up during the appointment.
- Reassure and support: Make sure that your child knows that you are there for them. It is normal for a child to feel a bit scared or confused, but reassure them that the CAC team has a lot of experience working with children who have gone through similar things. You can share with your child that they will not be required to do any part of the visit that they are not comfortable with. Even if your child decides that they do not want the physical exam completed, we still recommend that you come to the visit. This will give you and your child a chance to meet our medical team, learn more about the exam, ask any questions you may have, and gather all necessary information to make the right decision for your child.
- Talk about feelings: Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and let them know that there is nothing wrong with having those feelings. Allow your child room to express themself.
- Answer questions: Do your best to answer questions that your child may have. Your answers do not have to be detailed. Let your child know that it is okay to have questions and encourage them to ask you. If you do not know the answer, let your child know that you will work to find the answer. Again, the Kids-TALK CAC medical team is happy to help answer any questions that you or your child may have.
- Practice self-care: It is important for you and your child get enough rest and keep your routines as normal as possible. Take care of your physical and emotional well-being!
Remember, at Kids-TALK CAC, children’s well-being is our priority. The Kids-TALK CAC team is trained to work with children and teenagers who may have experienced difficult situations. It is also important to remember that a supportive adult in your child’s life plays a very positive role in your child’s healing.
What should I bring to the medical evaluation?
When you come for a medical evaluation at Kids-TALK CAC, there are a few things that you might want to bring with you. Here is a list of what you might find helpful to bring.
- Comfort items: Your child may bring something (without sound) such as a stuffed animal, a blanket, or special toy that helps them feel safe and comfortable. Having something familiar can help your child relax or feel more at ease during an exam. This may also include a fidget toy (without sound), although we do have fidget toys available for children of all ages.
- Support person: It is very important that the person(s) who comes to the CAC with your child is a trusted adult that can provide comfort and support. When possible, we ask that the other children/siblings do not come to the appointment, so that all of your focus can be placed on your child who is having the evaluation.
- Medical information: If your child takes any medications regularly or has any previous medical conditions or allergies, that will be helpful information for our medical team to know, so that they have a complete understanding of your child’s health and provide the best care for your child. If your child has had another medical appointment for the abuse, it is very helpful for you to bring that paperwork to the appointment. Please also bring your child’s insurance card. Again, you will not be charged for the appointment.
- Questions: Our team welcomes questions and loves to help! If you have any questions or concerns about the medical evaluation or the process, please ask during the reminder call that you will receive one day before your appointment or write your questions down and bring them with you to the CAC. This way, you will not forget to ask anything that is on your mind.
Our goal is to make sure that children and families feel safe and comfortable while at the CAC. The Kids-TALK CAC team is there to support you and make sure you have what you and your child need to feel prepared and comfortable.
What are the next steps?
At the end of the appointment, the medical team will make sure that all of your questions and concerns are answered. All of the information that is shared during the evaluation is kept confidential and is only shared with other professionals who are involved in supporting your child and keeping them safe. The medical team will go over any recommendations or any necessary follow-up care or services. If you think of any questions or concerns before or after your appointment, please reach out to the medical team at 734-785-7751 or your Advocate at 313-833-2970. We are here to support you and your child every step of the way. Together, we can create a safe and supportive environment where your child can heal and thrive.