Transition to an Adult Doctor: 5 Tips for Success

 Based on sage advice from interviewed youths 

1. Be cool

  • “Stay calm…”
  • “Remain positive…”

2. Expect differences/learn to be independent

  • “Understand the differences between pediatric and adult. I realized that I should be taking more responsibility in my own health care, rather than my mom or my dad booking the appointments or whatnot.”
  • “Don’t wait for the doctor’s office to call you. Call yourself to (re) schedule your appointment or to follow up on any test results…”
  • “Become as independent as possible. … No matter how hard. … Book your own appointments [work around your parents’ schedule if you have to rely on their driving you]… Before I was afraid to talk to a receptionist; now it's not so bad.”

3. Ask for help or clarification/give your opinion/make your choice

  • “They [adult doctors and staff] talk and treat you like an adult…I am used to a pediatrician ...telling me a way that I am able to understand it.”
  • “If I don't understand something, I'm pretty good at asking for help [and for clarifying].”
  • “I give my opinions on what treatments I think have been in the past or I think would work better in the future… and I have been making more of the choices that I think will be best for me.”

4. Connect with your family doctor

  • “My pediatric doctor would make sure that all of my pills were refilled and I was never low on any, but this time - because it takes so long to get to see the adult doctor….I can't get my pills as fast as I would want them. … So I just went to my family doctor and she refilled them for me.”
  • “[As] I am waiting for another [adult] doctor, ,.. my family doctor has agreed to … keep with me until I am done with the shots… rather than have to go through everything and move to a new doctor and explain this whole situation all over again.”

5. Get prepared for your appointments

  • “Before your appointments, really think about and get down everything you want to ask. Just make sure you get it out there and open. Kind of prepare yourself for your appointments.”
  • “Just know what you want to know. If you don't tell your doctor something, they can't help you so anything you think that would be helpful to your condition or whatever you are going through at the time, write it down. Put it in your phone. Prepare everything you want to ask them.”

Good luck with your transition! TRACE team