Whether you go to the doctor once a year for a checkup, or see specialists monthly for a specific health care need, all youth are moving into adulthood and must transition to adult health care! Changing from a child doctor to an adult doctor, at around age 18, is a BIG step. And with Big STEPS come Big responsibility. That’s all apart of becoming an adult. Practice, planning and participation in your health care process can make this transition easier. And you don’t have to do it alone! Take advantage of the many supports that may be in your life: parents, caretakers, extended family, friends, doctors, nurses, specialist, teachers, community workers, etc. They are available to help guide you through this journey until you are fully ready to take charge of your health care. We encourage you to view the youth taking charge booklet for more information.
S.T.E.P.S for Transition
Start Slow, Start Now! The time to begin this process is the present.
- Ask your current doctor about transition
- Begin learning about your health care as early as age 12
Talk with your parent/caregiver and physicians about transition
- Start asking questions of your family, doctors, and providers
- Try answering a few of your doctor’s questions on your own
- Make sure to get some alone time with your doctor or specialist
Educate yourself about the process, your conditions, what to expect, etc.
Remember transition is a process that takes time and practice.
- Begin taking on more of your health care. For example, knowing your health condition, knowing your doctor/specialist's name, knowing the name of medications and how it makes you feel, remembering to take your medication, scheduling your appointments, etc.
- Know at age 18, legally you are an adult, and the rules of consent change
- Learn about health insurance and the changes that are possible when you reach adulthood
Plan and begin creating a transition plan for you to take charge.
- Plan for future health care such as shared decision-making, guardianship, adjustments to insurance providers, change in doctors/specialists, etc.
- Always keep your doctor’s phone number, insurance, and pharmacy information with you. Try using the health app or alternate medical apps on your phone.
- Use your smartphone as a resource to take charge and keep track of your health
Support is necessary for success in this process. You’re the captain, create your team!
- Make sure to identify your support team to help you through the transition. You do not have to do it alone!
- Let your physician and specialist know how the transition process has worked for you
- Join advisory groups to talk about your experience with healthcare transition
Page last updated 12/14/22