PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Tips for Teens on ‘Graduating’ to Adult Primary Care

Posted on Dec 13, 2012

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.