All of our patients at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers are very important to us, from the first moment they arrive. But there comes a time when our teens begin to think about leaving the practice. As they consider a move to an adult family practice, they’ll do so from a physical, behavioral and emotional point of view.
“As pediatricians, we are trained to care for children from newborns to age 21. Some practices treat them through the end of their college years. However, from the time of puberty on, our teens may experience concerns about which pediatrician, male or female, is seeing him or her and whether they are comfortable during examinations,” said Dr. Benitez. “We are sensitive to their concerns and are happy to discuss with them and their parents any adjustments they’d like to make.”
In addition, the child entering the teen years is interested in taking on more control of the health care process. Talks with their peers may lead them to question why they remain in a pediatric practice. Your teen will begin to take more interest in health care decisions, asking more questions of the parents and health care providers and discussing issues that are important to them. When this happens, it’s best to communicate openly and encourage them to speak up. The first step they take toward treatment independence may be your child asking you to wait outside the examining room during the visit.
Here are some ways you can guide your child in learning how to navigate the health care process:
- Encourage your child to make the call with you to schedule pediatrician visits.
- Encourage children with chronic diseases to learn more about their medications and possible side effects.
- Have your children write down questions for the pediatrician before each visit.
- Have your children carry their own health insurance cards.
- Keep an open mind about changes in health care providers and be available to discuss them.
Your pediatrician may be able to recommend a family practice doctor or answer any questions you have about helping your child transition to an adult doctor. Do not hesitate to ask for help with this important transition.