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Transitioning from Pediatrics to Adult Care

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What is health care transitioning?

As you approach your eighteenth birthday you will move out of a pediatric focused health care practice and into an adult focused practice. Your pediatric health care team can help you make a smooth and safe switch to an adult practice.

What are some of the changes that I should expect?

Adult health care practices expect you to make decisions and have more responsibility for your medical care. When you reach 18 years of age:

1.) You will decide whether to accept or refuse medical treatment.

  • If a procedure requires a signature on a consent form, read it first and ask questions as needed before you decide if you will sign it.

2.) When you turn 18, you have the right to decide how much your parents are involved in your medical decisions.

  • You need to sign a release of information form if you want your doctors to continue to provide information to your parents
  • If you use your parents’ health insurance, the insurance company may send them details about your medical visits since they are the policy holder.
  • If you choose not to use your parent’s insurance, you may have to pay for services at the time of your visit.

3.) You will be responsible for any medical costs not covered by health insurance. Discuss this with your parents.

How can I prepare for these changes?

Become more involved in your health care before you turn 18. These are some suggestions:

Take the lead on discussions with your health care team.

Ask questions. Some people find it helpful to write a list of questions before their health care visits.

If you don’t have any questions, pay attention to the type of questions your parents ask.

2.) Talk to your parents and pediatrician about adult health care providers. Your pediatrician can explain the different types of adult care practices.

3.) Keep a record of your medications and immunizations, and bring this with you when you see your doctor.

4.) If you have allergies, keep a list. Include allergies to medicines, foods or things in the environment.

5.) Schedule your own appointments and track them on your calendar.

6.) Practice checking yourself in at the hospital or clinic visits and going to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions with your parent.

7.) Before you have your first visit with your adult health care provider ask your parents for details about your family’s medical history and your own medical history. Write these down and bring this information with you for your doctor’s visit.

8.) If you have questions, please contact your primary care physician.

Note: Another CHKD handout is available for your parents, Transitions: How health care changes when children turn 18. Your parents may get this brochure from your physician’s office (available through KDnet Brochures and More, CHKD 103).

Disclaimer:This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 01/2013

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