Help them take charge of their health
As your child nears adulthood, we want to prepare them for managing their own healthcare. Turning 18 years old may not make your child feel different, but they will have new healthcare responsibilities as a legal adult, including the right to make their own healthcare decisions and being the only person to decide who can access their private medical information.
Well-child visits during adolescence provide your child with an opportunity to take added responsibility over their own health and wellness. Leading up to age 18, you can encourage more independence by asking your child to:
- Learn their personal and family medical histories, including any allergies.
- Be prepared to talk to their healthcare provider one-on-one for part of the visit, and take a health survey on their own (age 12).
- Encourage honesty and come prepared with questions.
- Help you check in and out at their appointment. A parent or guardian must be present at all appointments.
- Know their medications and take them on schedule.
- Know how to contact members of their healthcare team.
- Help schedule their own appointments.
- Know their medications and begin calling the pharmacy to refill prescriptions.
- Begin thinking about plans to switch to an adult healthcare provider. (Between the ages of 18 and 21, most of our adolescent patients will begin seeing a primary care provider in Family Medicine or Internal Medicine).
- Ask their provider about privacy rights and new responsibilities at age 18.
- Discuss a timeline for switching to a primary care provider who sees adults.
- Understand their health insurance coverage and/or whether they will remain on their parent's plan; carry their insurance card.*
- Know who is responsible for paying their healthcare bills.*
*These questions will be asked upon check-in at the 18-year-old well visit.
To make the most of your visit, your child should bring:
- A parent or legal guardian is required to be present for appointments for children under 18. If there are hardships to a guardian accompanying a child, please contact the department you’ll be seen in
- Current immunization record
- Insurance information
- Completed and signed sports physical form, if applicable
The transition to adult healthcare doesn't have to be difficult. Let these resources help guide you and your teenager:
- Gundersen's Patient Education library filled with teen topics, tips for parents and our Teen Wellness Questionnaire (starting at age 12).
- The Got Transition website that includes frequently asked questions, videos and more.