#AAP#adolescents#American Academy of Pediatrics#breast exa

Medical chaperones should be used during pediatric exams

Written By:Abbie Smith New guidelines released by theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)state that teenagers should be given the choice of having a ch...

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|May 7|magazine17 min read

Written By: Abbie Smith

New guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) state that teenagers should be given the choice of having a chaperone present when they are undergoing pediatric exams.

The AAP also says that paediatricians should be provided with a medical chaperone when they are examining younger children in situations where a parent or carer is not available or when they are being examined for suspected abuse.

The new policy statement, publihsed in the Pediatrics journal, clarifies advice on the use of medical chaperones, offering details on when they should be used, who can be used as a chaperone and when they should be offered to teenage patients.

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Edward Curry is the lead author of the AAP statement. He said: “The use of a chaperone should be a shared decision between the patient and physician. The patient's preference should be given the highest priority.”

Although doctors often see it as necessary to use a chaperone when carrying out pelvic examinations, the AAP have also recommended that they are used for breast and rectal exams.

“We wanted to make sure pediatricians are aware they should (have chaperones) when they do these exams as well,” added Curry.

Nurses or medical assistants should be used as a chaperone rather than a family member or friend of either the patient or doctor.

This is due to patient confidentiality and the fact that nurses or medical assistants will have an understanding of the procedures.

Curry said that the use of medical chaperones is designed to protect both the patient and the pediatrician, although he understood that some adolescents might feel uncomfortable with another person present during an exam and therefore refuse a chaperone.

According to Curry, in an ideal world each practice should have a designated medical chaperone available at all times, however this is not always possible.

The AAP guidelines state that if there was an instance when a chaperone was not available, teenage patients have the right to refuse and examination.

The use of medical chaperones is a requirement in some US states, but in most states there are no legal mandates on the issue.