Welcome to our new series of Teenology101 blog posts, which will focus on the transition to adult health care (and to adulthood in general). Transition is a super important topic when it comes to the health of teens – for teens who have chronic health conditions, their health status often worsens during this time, and we think that might have something to do with the rocky road of transitioning to adulthood. Despite that reality, discussions about transition often get skipped during medical visits, or put off to discuss at a future appointment.
We frequently hear from parents that there are things they wish they had known sooner to prepare themselves and their child for the transition to adult care. Our goal in this series of posts is to answer some of those questions, or at least get you thinking about how to find answers.
Whether your child has a clean bill of health or deals with a chronic health condition (or several of them), this series will cover a variety of topics that you may find useful. We will be writing along with parents of Seattle Children’s patients, who will share stories to guide this discussion.
To start, I want to get you thinking about one important concept. I think of transition as having two separate parts: self management and physical transfer of care. By self management, I mean the teen’s ability to understand their own health and do what needs to be done to take care of their health. By transfer of care, I mean the physical switch from pediatric medical providers to adult medical providers.
The actual transfer to a new provider is a small part of a bigger process that involves gradually having your teen take over responsibility for his or her own health. We will cover both parts of this process throughout the series.
In case you want to learn more ASAP, here are some resources to get you started:
• Article from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Parent site, healthychildren.org
• The Center for Healthcare Transition Improvement, a national organization focused on improving transition through innovation, research and improved patient care.
• The Seattle Children’s Center for Children with Special Needs
• University of Washington’s Adolescent Health Transition Project
Here’s a past post on the topic: