Looking for a Pediatrician Open on Weekends?
Any parent will tell you that babies and children get sick - often many times a year. What they may not think to tell you is that these illnesses and injuries seem to happen disproportionately during after-hours and weekends. While that may not be actually true, it can sure seem like it sometimes.
While some providers may have after-hour clinics and some pediatricians are open on weekends, concierge pediatricians often have greater availability to see your child in your home or virtually through telemedicine.
Related: How to Know if Pediatric Concierge Medicine Is Right for Your Family
Before you make any appointment or call to the pediatrician, there are some things you should know.
Facts: After-Hours and Weekends
Not all pediatricians have physical offices.
One thing you may not know is that not all pediatricians have physical offices. Increasingly more pediatricians are offering concierge services, coming to your home instead of you going to them. This gives you more flexibility and convenience when and how you engage with your provider. Some concierge pediatricians will come to your home after-hours, as well as on the weekends, depending on the issue. If in-home visits are not necessary or possible, these providers may offer virtual appointments 24-hours a day.
Some concierge pediatricians offer all of the same services as an in-office pediatrician, but you don’t have to commute to and from their office, wait in crowded waiting rooms, or take your child out of their comfortable home environment. With concierge medicine, the provider will bring everything required to examine, diagnose and provide a treatment plan for your child, including vaccines and rapid tests. If lab work is needed, they can often draw blood right in the comfort of your home. For most parents, the convenience, comfort and ease of having a provider come to you or provide 24/7 virtual care is well worth the membership fee.
Related: Keep Your Children Safe: Why 24/7 Pediatrics Is Crucial
Not all providers open their offices after hours and weekends.
While most pediatricians offer some type of after-hours availability (either by phone or a clinic), not all provide weekend appointments. Even with pediatricians open on weekends, they likely have limited clinic hours. Many will only be open for a few hours in the mornings and some will be closed entirely on Sundays. You can always take your child to an urgent clinic or emergency room, but for non-emergency care, you may have to wait until Monday to make an appointment or speak to a provider.
After-hour clinics may cost more than a regular office visit.
You are paying for the convenience of after-hour care and those extra hours can cost the office more money to provide. Be sure you understand the costs you may incur for using this service before you go. If you opt for a concierge pediatrician, your costs may be a bit different. For instance, most concierge pediatricians charge an annual or monthly membership fee that entitles you to unlimited virtual appointments - after-hours included. This can be a huge relief for parents who want to get answers and have their child seen after-hours without worrying about costs.
After-hours still have a closing time.
Typical after-hour appointments will begin shortly after the office closes and extend for several hours into the evening. If you want to have greater access to your provider, look into concierge pediatricians as mentioned above. Some will provide 24-hour virtual appointments and if the issue requires an in-person visit, they may be able to come to your home after hours or schedule you for the next morning.
After-hour calls to pediatricians or nurses and weekend appointments may have an additional cost.
Just like after-hour clinics, the convenience of being able to call your pediatrician or provider may come at a cost. Similarly, staffing an office for weekend hours costs your pediatrician money, and they will often pass those costs off to parents so they can recoup their costs. Be sure to ask your pediatrician how much a weekend appointment will cost before your child actually becomes ill so you know before you go.
Some providers charge a flat fee for any after-hours calls, while others charge a typical office fee or co-pay. Concierge pediatricians frequently charge no additional cost as after-hours calls are covered in the annual or monthly membership fee. If you use a concierge pediatrician, ask them how they charge for weekend appointments or if it is included in your membership fee.
After-hour providers can write prescriptions.
Even though you may not see your pediatrician during after-hours, the provider you see should be able to write or call in a prescription. You may not be able to fill the prescription until morning, depending on the time, but the provider may also be able to recommend over-the-counter options to hold you over until you can fill the prescription.