Transition to Adulthood

Excerpt from an article by Sara Baxter, originally published in Kids Get Arthritis Too

While no "magic age" exists for moving away from pediatric care, experts say that when a child reaches age 14, parents should talk with their teenager about working toward transition.  This gives the teen plenty of time to start taking responsibility for his or her care, finding a doctor he or she feels comfortable with, and understanding the adult health care system.  Exactly when this transition takes place depends on the age and maturity level of the young adult, as well as the medical situation and insurance issues.  Various checklists are available to determine readiness and identify areas that need attention.

Successful transition requires the young adults to take charge of their own health care, the parents to let go and the health-care team to support the process.  It doesn't happen overnight.  In teaching children to be independent, parents can start taking "baby steps" such as making and going to appointments alone, taking medication without reminders and refilling prescriptions.


Ways Parents Can Prepare Themselves

  • Find out the policies regarding the age and service policy limits for your child's pediatric/adolescent practice.
  • Find out your health care insurer's policy regarding the age limit of services under pediatric/adolescent care.
  • Begin discussing transition early with both your child and the health care provider.
  • Request that your pediatric health care provider recommend an adult provider who is sensitive and knowledgeable of young adult and chronic illness issues.
  • Find out how your insurer handles referrals and consultations for transition to adult health care.
    Source: National Center for Cultural Competency - Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

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