Moving from Pediatric to Adult Healthcare

Moving from pediatric to adult health care can feel like a big transition for both parents and young adults. 

It marks a shift from the familiar environment of their childhood pediatrician’s office to the more independent realm of adult healthcare. 

At Pediatrics West, we help teens and young adults prepare for this transition. As parents, you can also help your child navigate this change with confidence and help empower them to take control of their health.

When Should Teens Transition to Adult Healthcare

The choice of when to transition to adult health care is an individual decision between your young adult (and parents when appropriate) and their provider based on the needs of the patient. At Pediatrics West, we have a program that help prepare for a gradual and smooth healthcare transition to adult care by age 22.

Some things you should consider: 

  • Age-Appropriate Care: Pediatricians specialize in care for children and adolescents. Transitioning to adult care ensures your young adult receives care tailored to their age and stage of development.
  • Building Independence: Transitioning to adult care empowers young adults to take control of their healthcare decisions, fostering a sense of responsibility and independence. 
  • Continuity of Care: Before you transition to adult care, it’s important to make sure you have a plan in place for continuity of care. This is especially important if your young adult has any special needs or a medical history. You’ll want to help your young adult make sure there are no gaps in healthcare to prevent any disruptions in treatment plans or monitoring of chronic health conditions. 

How You Can Help Get Your Teen Get Ready for the Move

You can help your child learn to take charge of their own health care from an early age and gradually give them more independence and responsibility as they get older. Here’s some ways you can help them: 

Encourage Participation at Doctor Visits: Even before the teen years, encourage your child to ask their provider questions and talk directly to their provider, instead of through you. 

Open Communication: Encourage open communication between you and your child about their health. Discuss the transition process with them and address any fears or concerns they may have.

Education and Preparation: Educate your child about their health conditions, medications, and the importance of regular check-ups. Teach them how to schedule appointments, refill their prescriptions, and mange their medical records. While this can be managed on MyChart at Pediatrics West, you may need to help your young adult figure out how to do this things with their adult provider. 

Respect their Privacy: Teens and young adults may avoid getting the care they need for sexual reproductive services and mental and behavioral health if they are worried about their privacy. Around age 13, we ask parents to leave the exam room to allow for confidential conversation about these topics. You can help your child feel comfortable having these conversations by also respecting their privacy. 

Find the Right Adult Provider: Help your child research local adult healthcare providers and consider factors such as expertise, communications style, and compatibility with your young adult’s needs and preferences. You can also ask your provider at Pediatrics West for recommendations. 

How Pediatrics West Prepares Teens for Adult Healthcare

For our patients, starting around age 14, we will begin discussing topics including how to manage healthcare issues and communicate with a healthcare provider, how to refill medications, and how to make/cancel appointments.

At age 16, your teenager will start receiving a transition readiness assessment questionnaire via the ECheck-In feature of MyChart to help us tailor this education to your child. It will be helpful to us if you can have your child fill out this questionnaire prior to their well visit.

We also will be asking patients to sign up for their own MyChart access by age 16 and make sure that we have their contact information and phone number. This way, they can start to receive questionnaires and take on a more active role in managing their healthcare.

Contact Pediatrics West

We want to help you and your teen or young adult smoothly transition to adult healthcare and continue to thrive in their journey toward adulthood. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Pediatrics West with any questions or concerns at (720) 284-3700.

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