Transitioning care for teenagers
The transition from pediatric care into the adult health care system can be a challenge for teens and their families, as well as for health care professionals.
Our team has developed a process to ensure the transition is successful for patients. We help make sure providers, patients, families, and receiving providers prepare for transitions through diligent planning, and communication. Our goal is to prepare patients with chronic health conditions to leave Children’s Mercy with the necessary skills and knowledge to advocate for themselves (or through others), maintain positive health-promoting behaviors, and the ability to utilize adult health-care services appropriately and successfully.
Tips for parents
We encourage teens to talk with any of our care providers about their concerns about transition.
Parent involvement is an important part of every patient's treatment plan. Our team works with families through each step of patient care. Support and encouragement are also very important for patients during and after treatment.
Encourage your teen to communicate directly with health care providers.
Teach your child how to manage their specific health care needs as early as possible.
Teens who have household chores assigned feel that they have a role in contributing to their family. They are more likely to be well employed as adults.
Help your teen to understand the implications of their health condition and treatments on their present and future health.
Encourage your teen to get organized before appointments and have their questions written down.
Have your teen make their own appointments and call for medication refills.
Discuss career and educational options.
Guardianship may be recommended for children with cognitive disabilities who will be unable to make decisions for themselves after 18 years of age. Guardianship is a legal process in which an individual (usually a parent or other guardian) is appointed by a court to take responsibility for the health care and finances of someone who is unable to make decisions themselves. Our social worker can discuss this process with you and provide you with the resources to answer questions and address concerns.
Making decisions for the patient
The guardian makes personal decisions for the child to the extent allowed by the court judge and based on that person’s own best interest (such as where one lives or the care required). This is a big decision to make as it does reduce the legal rights of the child. If this is necessary for your child, we recommend starting the process before the child turns 18 years old. The guardian also has the power to decide care and custody matters for the patient.