Making the Move from Pediatrician to Adult Doctor
Over the years, your pediatrician has been there for all the important milestones in your child's life. But before you know it, you've got teenagers turning into young adults and it's time for them to transition to an adult care doctor. Where do you begin?
When to Transition to an Adult Care Provider
At Boys Town Pediatrics, we start discussing this transition at 16 or 17 years of age with the expectation that patients will be ready to move to an adult physician between ages 18 and 20.
There is a range of time for the transition instead of an exact cutoff because some pediatricians are happy to continue seeing their patients longer than others. Ask your pediatrician how long they will see your child to determine when you should start making plans for transitional care.
We encourage consistent primary care throughout a patient's life. Many colleges have on-campus clinics for everyday healthcare concerns, vaccines, and other preventative services. If your child sees a specialist, they should maintain regular appointments with them throughout early adulthood. As a parent, it's ok to maintain some involvement with your child's healthcare, but you should encourage them to develop independence over time.
Who Can Provide Adult Care
Internal medicine, family practice and general practice physicians can provide primary care for adult patients.
What to Ask When Picking an Adult Care Provider
To find the right fit for your child, we encourage you to ask questions. These questions may be for your child, for your pediatrician or for your friends and family.
For Your Child and Yourself
- Do you care what gender your provider is?
Many patients are more comfortable with a gender-matched provider.
- Does my child have any special care needs to consider?
Some patients have chronic conditions to consider, and some patients will need to consider where they plan to get gynecological care.
For the Pediatrician
- How long are you willing to see my child beyond age 18?
- Do you recommend a certain provider?
- Do you think internal medicine, family practice or general practice is better suited for my child?
In addition, consider where your child will be living and what your insurance situation will be. (Just a reminder: Children can stay on their parent's health insurance plan until their 26th birthday.)
Talk to Your Pediatrician
As doctors who have cared for these young adults their whole lives, of course we're here for them as they transition to a new doctor….because we don't want anyone to feel uncovered.
There is a lot to consider when finding a new provider. So, begin talking about the changes that are coming and explore friends, family and insurance resources to help your child find the right fit for a lifetime of health.