Regular check-ups for juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

Find out what happens during regular arthritis check-ups, how frequent they should be, and why it is important for your child or teen to attend all check-up appointments.

Key points

  • Regular check-ups with the rheumatology team are important for monitoring symptoms and responses to medications.
  • Try to coordinate multiple appointments on the same day to avoid missing school or activities.
  • If your child cannot attend a scheduled appointment, please phone the doctor's office to reschedule.

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 your child is doing. It will also give you and your child a chance to talk to the health-care team.

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

Your doctor will examine your child's joints and ask about any symptoms or difficulties they may have had since their last visit. The doctor may ask about your child's activity level, school attendance, mood, energy level and sleep. You and your child 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 child's needs. You can ask them about any questions or concerns you or your child have. The health-care team may need to adjust your child's medical and therapy program. Depending on how your child 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 child's 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 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. Your child may be worried about this, as it means that they may miss school or other activities. Try to work with members of the health-care team to see if you can coordinate these visits on the same day.

Last updated: January 31st 2017