Many changes await teens as they grow into adulthood. One of these changes is the transition from a pediatrician to an adult primary care doctor. Once a child turns 18, they will no longer be seeing a pediatrician, so it’s a good idea to start looking for a primary care doctor before then. Here are some tips to help make your teen’s transition easier.
Tell the Doctor
If your teen goes away to college or moves to another city, tell the doctor. If it’s college, give the doctor the school’s healthcare information. Help your teen to make an information sheet that includes the contact information for their doctor, orthodontist and dentist. Also include on this sheet:
- Insurance company, policy number and phone number.
- Date of last tetanus shot.
- Name and dose of daily medications.
- Any medication allergies.
- When to get teeth cleaned again (usually every six months).
- Date of last physical exam.
- Emergency contact information for family or friends.
Get Help Transitioning
Your teen’s current doctor can help find an awesome new doctor. This new doctor should be someone your teen is comfortable with and trusts, and who will be honest about any health risks your teen may have. Your teen may also want that person to be easy to reach, especially during college.
Help your teen schedule an appointment with the new doctor prior to switching over to adult healthcare.
Your teen should outline the different transitional steps to take, and then assign dates to these steps. For example, set up specific dates to:
- Learn how to call in to make an appointment.
- Have the doctor quiz the teen on healthcare insurance.
How Your Teen Can Take Responsibility for Healthcare
- Set an alarm reminder to take daily medicines.
- Carry a copy or list of medications and the doctor’s business card in their wallet with emergency contact information.
- Keep an up-to-date calendar with all appointments.
- Enter the clinic’s number into their cell phone.
- Sign up for My Health Online and manage much of healthcare (after age 18) online, including sending a secure email to the doctor’s office about non-urgent health questions, view and chart test results, request a prescription renewal and view instructions from a recent doctor’s visit or request an appointment.
Reviewed by: Amanda Quevedo
Last reviewed: November 2019