Regular check-ups for JIA

Nurse measuring height of teen girl

What will happen at your child's regular check-ups?

It is important that your child have regular check-ups with the rheumatology health-care team. This usually includes a rheumatologist, nurses, occupational therapist (OT) and/or physical therapist (PT). These check-ups will help the doctor to see how the JIA is doing. It will also give you and your child a chance to talk to the health-care team members.

Your doctor will examine your joints and ask you about any symptoms or difficulties you may have had since your last visit. Your doctor may ask about your activity level, school attendance, mood, energy level and sleep. You will also have the chance to speak with the nurse to ask any questions you might have. You may have the chance to see the physical therapist, occupational therapist or social worker, depending on your needs. You can ask them about any questions or concerns you have. Your health-care team may need to adjust your medical and therapy program. Depending on how the JIA has been doing, your doctor may request blood tests or imaging studies.

Why is it important for your child to attend all their check-ups?

Occasionally, teenagers find it difficult to attend their rheumatology clinic visits. They may feel that this interferes with other important things they are doing, such as school, work, sports or spending time with friends. However, regular rheumatology check-ups are very important.

This is regardless of whether they are feeling lots of pain or little pain. The doctor needs to monitor your response to medications and look for any possible side effects. Even if the JIA is in remission and your child or teen feels great, they should still go to their check-ups to let the doctor know how they are doing. The rheumatology visit is you and your child's chance to let the doctor and nurses know how your child is doing, and to ask questions. After all, the doctor wants to see you in your child during good times too.

If your child cannot attend a scheduled appointment, please phone the doctor’s office to reschedule.

At the check-ups, your child may have appointments with different members of the health-care team. You may be worried about this, as it means that you may miss school or other activities. Try and work with members of the health-care team to see if you can coordinate these visits on the same day.

Jennifer Stinson RN-EC, PhD, CPNP

Lori Tucker, MD

Adam Huber, MSc, MD, FRCPC​