February 1, 2022
A pediatrician plays such an important role in your child’s physical and mental health as they are growing up.
They are the child’s primary point of contact when it comes to their well-being, and by the time they turn 18, this pediatrician is able to know and understand the child’s medical history better than any other doctor.
It is comfortable and convenient to carry on with this doctor who already knows your child so well, but it is also very important that you do transition your children to a primary care physician for adults at some point, ideally after they turn 18. A pediatrician’s main focus is caring for children. To do so, they must have extensive knowledge on children and how they develop. As a result, their care isn’t necessarily geared toward an adult. That is why it is important to transition children to these adult primary care physicians and to do it as smoothly as possible in order to ensure that your child is always receiving the best care possible.
BEFORE THE SWITCH
Transitioning your child to a primary care physician for adults isn’t a decision that you make overnight. It is a process that sometimes begins years before your child even turns 18. It all depends on the child and what the parents are comfortable doing.
But, once you figure out exactly what you want to do, you can now begin the process of:
1. RESEARCHING AND FINDING A NEW DOCTOR
This step is important, and it is vital that you complete this step before ending things with your child’s current doctor. You do not want to leave your child without any form of primary care physician, so continue to bring your child to their pediatrician while the search for a new doctor is ongoing.
When it comes to finding a new doctor, it can be a bit intimidating and scary. There are so many factors to consider in order to figure out which doctor can provide the best overall care for your child. It can become really difficult to understand all these factors yourself, so why not turn to the person who has taken care of your child’s well-being and understands your child’s medical history? Asking your child’s pediatrician and even turning to friends and family helps you to compile a list of doctors who are trusted by the circle of people in your life. From there, you can narrow things down and schedule appointments with different doctors in order to find one you both feel most comfortable and satisfied with.
2. GATHERING MEDICAL RECORDS
Once you have researched and found a new doctor, you can start the task of acquiring and transferring important medical records to this new physician. How far back you need to go really depends on the health of the child and any problems in particular that they may have or had in the future. If there aren’t any major concerns, acquiring these medical records isn’t the most vital thing as long as they are able to relay basic information back to their provider like allergies, medications being taken, surgeries, or any emergency room visits.
3. TALKING TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT THE SWITCH
It is important to talk to your child about this transition opposed to just dropping the news on them as they are going to an appointment with this new doctor. Involving your child in the process and having them take some responsibility by making decisions helps bring forth a sense of responsibility when it comes to their physical and mental health. It helps to explain to them why they are transitioning from a pediatrician that they have known for the majority of their lives to a primary care physician for adults.
You can explain to them what it means to manage their own health care needs and take action when they feel unwell or need something checked out. The whole point of this transition of doctors is because your child is becoming an adult who needs to start taking responsibility for their own health care. As a parent, it is and will always be your job to protect, love, and cherish your children, but it is also extremely important that you teach them to protect, love, and cherish themselves by being proactive in their own healthcare and regularly getting checkups in order to maintain their physical and mental well-being.