Whether or not we like it, we have to face change many times in our life. At some point, all youth and young adults will have to leave the comfort of their doctor who has taken care of them ALL of their life and go to a doctor who cares for adults. This can be challenging for parents especially if their child has special healthcare needs.
The time will come when a pediatrician or pediatric specialist can no longer care for a patient because of their age. Depending on the doctors’ policy this usually happens between ages 18-26. There needs to be time for planning and the time to start is not at the last doctor’s appointment with the pediatrician. It best to start thinking about this and planning early around the time the child is turning 14.
You may ask why so early? Healthcare transition planning, moving from the care by a pediatrician to an adult health care provider, should be done over time, using a plan developed between you, your youth and their doctor. Your youth/young adult should be learning to handle their healthcare needs to the best of their ability, be able to speak about what they need, and how to work with doctors and insurance companies; this takes time to learn.
If you have a youth/young adult with special health care needs or complex needs, the process may need even more planning, and time since there are often many more doctors, specialists, equipment providers and more.
Click on our health care transition links, on this page, to help you learn more! Call your Family TIES coordinator for additional support or questions.