By: Dr. Sofia Thomas, DNP MHA APN RN CPH
Healthcare Transition – Why is it so important?
For young people (and their parents), transitioning from childhood to adulthood is an exciting time! For all youth, but especially for children and youth with special healthcare needs (CYSHCN), healthcare transition involves successfully getting ready to manage your healthcare as an adult.
But what exactly is healthcare transition? Healthcare transition is the process of moving from childhood healthcare to adult healthcare. Parents are actively involved during childhood, from managing medical needs like calling for appointments, filling out forms, and keeping track of medications, to filing for insurance and signing consent forms. But as youth grow older, their
healthcare quickly becomes their own responsibility.
Did you know?! More than 90% of children and youth with special healthcare needs (CYSHCN) now live to adulthood - but they are less likely than their non-disabled peers to complete high school, attend college, or to be employed due to health and healthcare barriers to successful transitions (Gotranstion.org).
Addressing healthcare transition EARLY will help limit
• General unpreparedness and feeling overwhelmed or burdened by multiple changes.
• The inability to find primary care providers or specialists to address needs and concerns.
• The loss of insurance coverage during transitional period.
What can you do to be successful? Start talking about healthcare transition as early as 12 years old!
Key steps to follow:
• Early Preparation: understanding and planning for changes in health needs, insurance, and healthcare providers.
1. Start a conversation about healthcare transition with your pediatrician or primary care provider.
2. Ask how you or your child will be tracked through healthcare transition and about any registry or logs used to monitor transition success.
3. Are you ready to transition? Talk about desire and goals, what skills would be needed to be successful in your own, or your child’s transition.
• Transfer of Care: The goal is a coordinated transfer of services without the loss of care or insurance coverage.
4. Talk to your healthcare provider about transition planning. Ask them what healthcare decisions are coming up, how to decide if a new provider is a good fit, and how to find new health insurance.
5. Create a medical summary of your important healthcare information with emergency contact information and preferences regarding your medical care. Ask your primary care provider to create a transition package that includes your medical summary, that can be given to the new primary care providers and specialists.
• Transition: Stay engaged in the transition process; continue to ask questions and stay involved in your healthcare decisions as you move from childhood providers to adult providers.
6. Provide feedback to your childhood healthcare providers and encourage them to use the Six Core Elements of Healthcare Transition, from Gottransition.org for successful transitions.
The information contained in this editorial is derived from information published by Florida Health & Transition Services (FloridaHATS.org) and Got Transition (Gottransition.org). For more detail information on healthcare transition and for additional tips and resources for all things transition, including education, job/employment, health insurance, and finances, please visit www.floridahats.org and www.gottransition.org, and visit the Florida Department of Health, Children’s Medical Service (CMS) at www.floridahealth.gov for more information on the Title V
Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs Specialty Program.
Dr. Thomas is a Florida Department of Health, Children’s Medical Service (CMS) regional consultant in Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties for the Children’s Medical Service’s Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs Title V Block Grant Program. CMS’s Title V program provides education, advocacy, and awareness of critical state-wide initiatives regarding the health and well-being of all Florida’s children.