How to Help Your Adolescent Transition to Adult Care
For young adults, transitioning from a pediatric healthcare provider to an adult practice is an important step in their independence, but it can be stressful. Transitioning to primary care usually occurs between the ages of 18 to 21, when other big life events like graduating high school and starting college are also happening, which is why it’s important to start transitioning adolescents early, around the age of 16.
When transitioning, the family and care team should encourage the youth to be the leader in this process. The care team and family can help them assume increasing responsibility relating to the adolescent’s health by asking questions such as:
- Do you know your medical needs?
- Do you know your medications?
- Are you able to make your own appointments?
Christie Leath, a family nurse practitioner at InstaCare, spoke on Fox 8 House Call about how to prepare your adolescent to transition to adult care.
Transitioning with a Chronic Condition
Finding a new healthcare provider that will accept them as a patient can be even more difficult for teenagers or young adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes, sickle cell, juvenile arthritis or others.
For most young patients with a chronic condition, they’re used to seeing a pediatric specialist instead of a primary care provider. Their specialist often becomes their medical care home, or a one-stop-shop for care. When children transition to adult care the roles reverse; the primary care provider becomes their main point of care and they’ll see a specialist only periodically or as needed.
To help make transitioning smoother, it is common in Pediatric Specialty Practices to have case workers or other staff that start the process of transition early.
Dr. Michelle Matthews, an internal medicine specialist at Cone Health Sickle Cell Center and Internal Medicine, spoke on Fox 8 House Call about how to help adolescents transition to adult care with a chronic condition.