Is a Family Practitioner the Right Doctor for Your Family?

Many parents want to know if they should find a family practitioner, pediatrician or internist to treat them and their family. This is a complicated question that must be answered after determining the family’s medical needs. There are several things that need to be considered, including the following.

Who needs treatment?

The age of the patients who need medical care is one of the biggest deciding factors that a doctor will use to determine if they will accept that patient. With many doctors being at, or near, their capacity, it is common for practices to turn patients away who do not fit within certain age parameters.

The three main types of primary care physicians are the family practitioner, pediatrician and internist. Here is a breakdown of whom they typically treat.

Family practitioner

A family practitioner will typically work with the entire family, treating children, their parents and even grandparents. Anyone who wants the convenience of taking the entire family to one location should see this type of doctor.


A pediatrician only treats children. They can begin seeing an infant before they are even released from the hospital. They continue to provide care as a child grows, making sure they receive their immunizations and grow appropriately, treating illness and preventing common health problems. They are the go-to resource for children exclusively and typically stop seeing patients once they turn 18. At that point, even a child who has an incredible relationship with their pediatrician will need to find a new doctor.


Just like pediatricians only treat children, an internist typically only treats adults. They focus on providing adult patient care exclusively, beginning to treat people once they have reached college age and continuing with those patients as they grow old. Many elderly patients prefer to see an internist because they only offer adult care.

What are the benefits of seeing a family practitioner?

There are several reasons that families choose to visit an office like ours, including:

  • It can be more convenient to bring everyone to the same office
  • A family doctor can gain insight into a family’s health history because multiple people are treated at the same place
  • Patients can remain with the same doctor as they age, instead of aging out like they would with a pediatrician

Types of care provided

A family doctor is the right person to visit when feeling sick or unhealthy. They are also the right doctor to go to for regular annual exams, sports physicals and checkups. Essentially, they can address all the patient’s health needs, as long as they do not have a life-threatening emergency. In that case, it is important to go to the emergency room and then follow up with the family doctor after the fact.

Are you looking for a new doctor?

If so, now is an excellent time to schedule an appointment with our office. As a family practitioner, we can provide medical care for the entire family.

Call (509) 424-5899 today to reach Awake Health.