Primary Care

Family medicine physicians: Lifelong care from someone you trust

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Loving parents hugging their two young children


By Domenic J. Termine, MD, Family Medicine, Nuvance Health Medical Practice


Family medicine has become a cornerstone of patient-centered care for all ages. As parents, your family’s well-being is at the heart of everything you do.


Whether your household is dealing with respiratory illnesses or starting new sports or activities, here is how a family medicine doctor can support your family.


What is family medicine?


Family medicine involves treating everyone from newborns to seniors. A family medicine physician is a great provider of choice for families. They offer care for patients of all ages, making it easy for your family to get the services they need from a single provider. Family medicine physicians aim to build lasting relationships with their patients, understanding not only your family’s medical history but also the unique dynamics between family members.


They are trained to handle a wide range of medical conditions covering everything from wellness exams to acute illnesses and chronic diseases. Whether it’s common issues such as strep throat and eczema, or more complex issues like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and weight management – they have you covered.


Dedicated to preventive care, family medicine physicians prioritize you and your family’s overall health. Whether it’s routine checkups before heading back-to-school or necessary immunizations for your child’s participation on the school softball team, you can rely on them to provide comprehensive care for your family’s well-being.



What are the benefits of seeing a family medicine physician?


There are numerous benefits to seeing a family medicine physician, such as:


Understanding your family health history 

Wouldn’t it be great to take the guesswork out of your family’s health history? When you have the same doctor seeing multiple family members, they can better understand your family’s medical issues. If there is a history of conditions such as cancer, mental health issues, diabetes or heart disease, a family medicine physician may offer screenings to help monitor those issues to reduce your risk.


Convenient healthcare 

Many family medicine physicians offer telehealth appointments and accommodate same-day visits to address urgent medical issues. If your family needs further testing, such as labs, the services are often available in the same building as your physician or at least nearby. Should you need imaging studies such as an x-ray or even a specialist referral, your family physician will help coordinate the care you need.


Lifelong care from a trusted healthcare provider 

Family medicine physicians are there for your family from the earliest stages of life through adulthood. Whether your child is taking their first steps, facing the hurdles of middle school, or embarking on their journey to college, the relationship formed with a family medicine physician fosters trust and familiarity every step of the way.


Streamlined collaboration with specialists 

In cases where specialty care is needed, family medicine physicians can coordinate care with specialists. They can ensure all healthcare providers are well informed about your medical history and health status — leading to better all-around care. At Nuvance Health, the unified use of the same primary care, specialists, imaging and radiology, lab work and hospital-based services guarantees that your entire care team is well informed.


Proactive wellness 

It’s important to have a baseline for your health because it helps family medicine physicians identify changes from your typical health status. Through preventive care, your family physician can keep your health on track with routine checkups, screenings and immunizations. Monitoring changes in your blood pressure or weight can help identify potential health risks early on, which can help reduce health issues in the future.



When should I take my child to see a family physician?


Knowing when to take your child to see a healthcare provider is important for their overall well-being. Here are a few reasons:


Annual physical exams

Routine wellness checks are key for monitoring growth, development and any potential health concerns. Annual checkups ensure sure they are up-to-date on health screenings and vaccinations that can improve your child’s overall health.


Colds, COVID-19, RSV and flu

Has your child been showing symptoms of a high fever, severe cough or congestion? If so, quick action is key. If your child has been having trouble breathing or coughing, and it has been going on for more than a few days, you should seek guidance from a family medicine physician.


Skin conditions or allergies 

Is there a rash on your child’s arm that wasn’t there yesterday? Skin conditions, allergies or rashes can be concerning. Family medicine physicians can diagnose, manage and provide solutions. They can also refer to specialists when necessary for comprehensive care.


Mental health and emotional well-being 

Recognizing when your child isn’t feeling like themselves is a good time to contact a provider. A family medicine physician can help assess emotional well-being, offer support and collaborate with mental health professionals for comprehensive care.


Accidents, unusual symptoms or simply not feeling well 

Parents often feel anxious about the well-being of their child but aren’t sure if they should follow up with a doctor or not. Rest assured, reaching out to a family medicine physician is never a bother; they are here to help. Your family medicine physician can assess bumps on the head and signs of concussion, potential bone fractures, insect bites and various other concerns.



How can I help my kids stay healthy in the winter?


During the colder months, activities are shifted indoors, increasing the risk of exposure to airborne illnesses. The common cold, influenza viruses and RSV are easily spread, particularly among kids. Thankfully, there are proactive measures we can take to minimize the spread of germs.

  • Practice good hand hygiene by teaching your child to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can make it fun by singing the ABCs or their favorite song. Hand sanitizer is also a great and convenient alternative, especially when you're on the go.

  • Encourage your child to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. They should use a tissue if available and if not, they should cough/sneeze into their elbow. Good respiratory hygiene is very important to keeping germs at bay.

  • Provide a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins to help support their immune system. It’s also very important to stay hydrated. Your family medicine physician can help craft a nutrition plan for your kids and entire family, with tips and tricks for getting kids to eat those fruits and veggies.

  • Bundling up, reducing the risk of catching a cold and skin reactions such as chapped lips, cheeks and hands. Make sure your child leaves the house wearing protective clothing such as a hat, gloves and a scarf so they can stay warm. 

  • Following a routine sleep schedule is important for your child’s overall well-being and health. Ensuring your child gets enough sleep not only boosts their immune system but also contributes to healthy growth, cognitive development and behavior.


What kind of experience do family medicine physicians have?


After graduating from medical school, family medicine residents spend three years practicing medicine under supervision before becoming eligible for board-certification. Their experience involves various aspects of patient care, both inside and outside the hospital setting. To do well in these areas, family medicine residents collaborate with other health specialists, ensuring you receive the highest standard of care.


For example, I am a board-certified family physician who received my training from the Stamford Hospital/Columbia University Family Medicine Residency Program, where I served as chief resident. I am a proud family physician who embraces the full scope of clinical practice to serve my patients of all ages, from newborns to college students, to grandparents. My areas of interest include pediatrics, obesity medicine and preventive health. My family and I are thrilled to join the Ridgefield community.


The bottom line: Your family’s health is our top priority. Our dedicated team of family medicine physicians are here to guide you and your family through every stage of life. From the first moments of caring for your newborn, to providing support for the unique health needs of each family member, we are here for you.