Many changes await you as you enter your late teen years. One of these changes is your transition from a pediatrician to an adult primary care doctor. Once you turn 18, you will no longer be seeing a pediatrician, so it’s a good idea to start looking for a primary care doctor before then. Here are some tips to help make that transition easier.
Tell Your Doctor If You’re Moving
If you are going away to college or moving to another city, tell your doctor. If you’re going away to college, give your doctor your school’s health care information. Ask your parents to help you make an information sheet that includes the contact information for your doctor, orthodontist and dentist. Also include on this sheet:
- Insurance company, policy number and phone number
- Date of last tetanus shot
- Name and dosage of daily medications
- Any allergies to medications
- When you need your teeth cleaned again (usually every six months)
- Date of last physical exam
- Emergency contact information for family and/or friends
Get Help Transitioning
Ask your doctor or another health care professional to help with your transition. Medical centers often offer such appointments.
Outline the different transitional steps, and then assign dates to these steps. (For example, plan on learning how to call in to make an appointment yourself by a specific date, or have your doctor quiz you on your health care insurance on a specified date.) If you overshoot these dates, don’t worry. It’s a learning process.
After The Transition
- Set an alarm reminding you when to take daily medicines
- Carry a copy or list of your medications and your doctor’s business card in your wallet with emergency contact information
- Keep an up-to-date calendar with all appointments
- Enter your clinic’s number into your cell phone
More detailed information on transitioning from a pediatrician to adult primary care provider is available on PAMF’s Teen Site.
With that in mind, the PAMF partnered with RallyOn, a Silicon Valley-based online and mobile health application developer, to create an online health and wellness program – called Wellness Assessment for Youth to Get Organized or WAY2GO! – designed specifically for teenagers.
Teenagers start by taking a confidential, online wellness assessment that creates an immediate, individually tailored report with links to health and wellness resources from PAMF’s teen website. Once teens have completed the health assessment they are linked to RallyOn’s free health coaching service that helps them work on daily health goals highlighted in their report such as getting more sleep and exercise or eating better. This engaging tool helps teens develop a personal wellness plan that includes activity challenges and health tips delivered through text messaging.
Prompts to get more sleep, exercise or eat better arrive via text message or email.
At first glance, having your teen join a year-round competitive sports team may seem like the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone – he or she has no time to turn into a couch potato hooked on texting and Facebook, and also has the opportunity to excel in a sport he or she loves. But before your teen signs up, you should know that teenagers’ bodies are particularly vulnerable to injury as their bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints are going through their most rapid period of growth. The intensity and “no pain, no gain” philosophy of many competitive, year-round sports teams can result in your teen sustaining serious injuries, some with lasting effects.
Among the many changes you experience as you become a young adult is the transition to an adult primary care doctor. Your pediatrician will care for you until you turn 18, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about who will replace your pediatrician before then. Look for a doctor who you are comfortable with and trust, and will be honest with you about any health risks you may have. You also want that person to be easy to reach, as you may be heading off to college.
As some school districts consider swapping heavy textbooks for e-reader tablets, local health experts understand the impact an overloaded backpack can have on a child — stiff necks, sore shoulders and aching backs. But parents can help prevent these possible pains in a few simple ways. Read More about How Much is Too Much for a Child’s Backpack?
The media has been around for decades, but the plethora of technology options today dwarfs what was available even 20 years ago. Between television, MP3 players, video games, computers, cell phones and portable electronic devices, kids’ lives could easily be consumed by electronic devices.
According to a study published by the Kaiser Foundation, kids ages 8 to 18 years old average eight hours of media time every day. We talked to Dr. James Ferrara, a pediatrician at member of the Mills-Peninsula Division of PAMF, about some of the benefits and pitfalls of this exposure.