Adolescent Health Transition Project
Learning about
Preparing for Transition

Using the Adult System

Health care services for adults are generally managed in a different style and with different expectations than services for children. Teens and young adults who have been used to a pediatrician and specialists who they have known for a long time may have a period of adjustment after switching to adult providers. Planning ahead can help ease this transition.

woman in wheelchairTeens and young adults who have had a family medicine practitioner may not need to change providers. However, the relationship should change to allow the young person the opportunity to assume increasing independence and autonomy in working with the provider and making decisions for themselves. Parents and providers must balance the tendency to be in charge and protect the young person with a commitment to encourage and nurture the development of self-advocacy and self-direction.

Whether you change to new adult-oriented providers or stay with a long-time family provider, it is important to learn how to manage you appointments and work with your doctor or other health care providers (nurse practitioners, dentists, physician assistants).

  • PDF document Making the Most of a Health Care Appointment – This two-page handout offers the young person hints about planning and scheduling a health care appointment and what to do during and after the appointment.

  • PDF document Finding and Using Adult Health Care – A two-page guide from the MCHB Healthy and Ready To Work Projects that offers suggestions to the young person about how to go about finding a new doctor.

  • Questions Many Teens Ask About Their Health Care – guidance for teens in the form of questions and answers about health care.

  • Talking with Your Doctor
    A web page that offers teens an easy-to-remember approach to talking with doctors and other health care professionals. Includes videos on each step of the suggested approach.

  • PDF document Communicating with Doctors and Other Health Care Providers – a one-page guide from the Institute for Community Inclusion at Boston Children’s Hospital with tips for communicating with health care providers.

  • Questions You Can Ask Your Doctor
    A detailed list of questions to ask the doctor divided into questions about disease or disorder, treatment and tests. Developed for the National Eye Institute, so some items speak to vision, but very appropriate for any condition.

  • PDF document What Is A Health Advocate? – Even adults can benefit from having someone to act as a health advocate. Brief description of what a health advocate can do to help a person with health care.

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This project is housed at the Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD) at the University of Washington
Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195-7920 | 206.685.1350 | Fax: 206.598.7815
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