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January 27, 2019

Medical Transitions: From Pediatric to Adult Health Care

            Right now, I’m in the process of transitioning from seeing a pediatric rheumatologist to an adult rheumatologist, so I figured I’d list what I’ve learned/what I’d have done differently.

These are just some of my own suggestions, but if you have any other ones that you think will be helpful to others in this situation, please leave a comment below with your advice. Thanks for reading this, and good luck!

  1. Be proactive
    • Start talking with your pediatric rheumatologist about transitioning to seeing an adult rheumatologist about a year before the transition would occur.
    • See if your pediatric rheumatologist recommends any adult rheumatologist in the area.
    • Check to see if your new doctor is covered under your medical plan
    • Have ongoing discussions about what the transition entails so it isn’t overwhelming or scary.
  2. Talk with your rheumatologist and parents about your role
    • As you transition or start thinking about transitioning, it’s important to understand what you’ll be expected to do now that you’re an adult. From scheduling appointments to calling in/bringing in prescriptions, to any insurance issues, there’s a lot that you might never have had to deal with. So the sooner you get acquainted with your new role, the better!
  3. If you’re on any medications, make sure that you have enough to sustain you until you can meet with your new rheumatologist.
    • Often times, it’s much harder to schedule an appointment as a new patient. So, it’s good to have extra medication just in case it takes a couple of months to meet with the adult rheumatologist.
  4. Make sure to get your records
    • Ask your pediatric rheumatologist for all your records!
      • Look through your records to see how your treatment has evolved over time
      • Make a scan of all your records so that you have a copy of your own files just in case anything happens
  5. If you’re going to college away from your hometown, consider finding a rheumatologist near your school
    • Make sure you have a plan for how you will receive your medications on campus
    • Coordinate with the school’s health center so that everyone is on the same page
  6. Consider keeping a personal log of all your treatment questions for your new doctor (record their answers)

-Sydney

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