The primary care medical home is the hub of a person’s health care. Moving one’s healthcare to adult primary care can feel like a symbolic step for young adults. It’s important to find a medical home team and a primary care professional where the patient can feel comfortable and develop trust.
A medical neighborhood includes all the medical services as well as social supports to meet a person’s health needs. If a young adult has any chronic health conditions, he or she may also be receiving subspecialty care. He or she may also need to get ready to move specialty providers from the pediatric to adult system.
As young adults start to look for adult providers, they should do some pre-planning. Usually it is a good idea to transfer and meet a new doctor when things are going well, rather than when having a health crisis.
Part of the planning may be to stagger the change in doctors so that young adults can get to know some of the new adult providers before saying goodbye to their entire pediatric provider neighborhood.
This is a useful way to hold on to the security of the team that you trust from childhood, while building the new adult care team. There may be still be examples when all the medical neighborhood needs to change together, like when moving to a new city.
How can you go about looking for a new doctor?
- Ask around
- Ask your current Riley team for recommendations
- Ask other members of the family or friends who they like
- Ask adults who have similar health needs
- Ask advocates from community organizations, like parent to parent networks, or centers for independent living or diagnosis specific organizations
- Check out your health insurance to learn about preferred and available providers
- Use a provider directory from your preferred health system, like IU Health Find A Doctor
When planning what type of doctor will make a good fit, consider these questions:
About the Office:
- Does the office accept your health insurance?
- Is the office close enough and easy for you to get to?
- Are the hours convenient for you?
- How easy is it to schedule appointments?
- How do you get questions answered during office hours?
- How do they handle questions or emergencies that happen when the office is closed?
- In what hospital systems does the practice work?
- If you need any special assistance, is the office accessible to your special needs?
About the Doctor:
- How easy is it to see the doctor you prefer? How available is he or she?
- How easy is that doctor to talk to? Are you ready to talk about private issues with him or her? Are you comfortable to work out the best treatment plan for you together?
- How comfortable and experienced is the doctor working with patients your age or with your particular health needs?
Working Well With a New Doctor
Young adults coming from pediatric care may have spent many years working with their pediatric team. It will take at least a little time to build new trust with a new doctor and team.
Getting comfortable with the privacy and confidentiality of adult care takes a little practice. Young adults can work to be as honest and truthful as possible about how they are feeling, what questions they have and how to share information about their habits and lifestyle. It is important to be open to a doctor about your history and concerns, so that together you make the best shared decisions.
Once an adult doctor is selected, it is a good idea to schedule a “graduation” visit with the pediatric doctor, so that the old team can prepare all the right health information to send to the new team. This helps patients have a safe transfer of their care.
The first visit to a new doctor can be called a “get acquainted” visit. This visit allows young adults to get to know the doctor and learn more about the practice.
You may want to call your pediatric team to let them know when you have made a good connection with your new adult doctor. This way they can feel good about your transfer and know about potential professionals who work well with young adults to recommend to the next patient.
Visit the trusted website below to learn more about this topic.
- GotTransition.org – Youth & Families. This page on the Got Transition website offers families and young adults many resources to ease the process of moving from pediatric to adult care, including information on finding an adult primary care doctor.