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A Guide to Getting Older and Changing Health Care Providers (HCP's)


As you get older your health care needs will change. The teen years are a good time to talk with your HCP about whether you need to transfer your health care to an adult doctor or nurse practitioner or if your health care can be managed by your family doctor. It's normal to feel uncomfortable about this change at first. After all, you probably have known your pediatrician for most of your life.


What are transitions?

Transitions are times when changes in your life occur. Moving toward adulthood is a time of major transitions.


During this time you will likely:

Who can help me plan my transition to adult health care?

Taking steps toward transitions:


By age 16

By age 18

By age 21-25

When should I transfer my care to an adult provider?

How do I pick a new health care provider?

What can I do to make my transition to adult health care easy?

Transitioning from a teen to an adult, takes planning. Soon you will need adult centered care that can focus on meeting the variety of needs adults have. The people who know you at your health care facility will help you when the time comes to transfer care to adult doctors. They want to make sure you are getting the services and treatment that are best for you.


Ask yourself the following questions to see how close you are to managing your own health care.


How well do I manage my own health care?

Check Box I know my height, weight, birth date, and social security number.
Check Box I know the name of my condition; can explain my special health care needs, and can tell you about my health status.
Check Box I know who to call in the case of an emergency.
Check Box I ask questions during my medical appointments.
Check Box I respond to questions from my health care providers.
Check Box I know what kind of medical insurance I have.
Check Box I know the names of my medications and what they do.
Check Box I know how to get my prescriptions refilled.
Check Box I know where to find my medical records.
Check Box I have discussed the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs with my provider.
Check Box I have discussed sexuality issues with my provider.
Check Box I know how to schedule a medical appointment.
Check Box I keep a schedule of my medical appointments on a calendar.
Check Box I can get myself to my medical appointments.


If you checked:


11-15 sentences

Super. You are already taking on adult responsibilities. You are ready to transition your health care and should talk to your health care providers about a transition plan.


6-10 sentences

You are on your way! You are actively taking on many responsibilities in your health care. Pick a few more responsibilities from the checklist to do before your next appointment. Also, start talking about transitions with your health care providers.


5 or less

Now is a good time to start taking on more responsibility of your health care. Pick one new responsibility form the checklist and practice it at your next appointment. If you need help, ask a friend, parent, nurse, social worker, or health care provider.


Written by the CYWH and YMH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital


Updated: 10/14/2010


Related Guides:

Choosing a Primary Care Provider

You need a primary health care provider so that your health can be checked regularly. This helps to catch any problem early so that it doesn't become worse...



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