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7 empowering health care transition tools

by Mary Mazzoni on June 7, 2012

As our kids mature, we want them to gain independence in managing their own health needs.

Health care choices are deeply personal. We want our kids to be empowered with the skills and information they need to make their own medical decisions and healthy lifestyle choices by the time they reach adulthood.

Ideally, health care transition is a gradual, step by step process beginning in childhood, rather than an abrupt change that happens all at once when our kids turn 18.

Whatever your child’s age may be, today is a great day to take new steps toward increased health care independence.

These tools can help.

Managing meds with MyMedSchedule.com

There are many steps to independently managing medications.

For starters, can your child:

  • Reliably take medications without reminders from adults?
  • Understand purpose of each medication, along with potential side effects?
  • Tell medical staff the medications s/he is taking, along with dosages and schedules?
  • Understand when and how to refill prescriptions?

MyMedSchedule.com is a free tool with multiple functions to help your child gradually gain independence in managing medications.

This video shows MyMedSchedule in action.

Even if your child needs help entering the data, setting the notifications and carrying out the re-fill process, s/he can gain real independence by:

  • Using phone prompts rather than adult reminders to take medications
  • Using the wallet-size checklist to tell healthcare providers about medications
  • Using the prescription re-fill reminders to prompt asking for help ordering refills

The idea is to gradually increase independence over time. What next step toward independence can your child take using MyMedSchedule?

Got Transition? checklist

The Got Transition? website is a national resource for health care transition. You’ll find articles, webinars and links to a wide variety of resources for you, your child, and healthcare providers.

Got Transition? has developed a Checklist that maps steps toward managing health and wellness with increasing independence. At first blush, the list may seem daunting, since each step involves lots of learning and practice. But remember this is a gradual process. You and your child can pick one step to work toward, and plan simple ways to move incrementally toward that goal. The following resources will help.

Talking With Your Doctor website

This site is filled with video modeling and interviews by youth for youth. Developed by the Institute for Child Health Policy at the University of Florida, it also includes a mnemonic device that helps kids remember a process for interacting with healthcare providers.

The videos are a great way to begin a conversation with your child about his/her relationship with doctors and healthcare staff. Young people demonstrate how they gradually gained independence in relating directly to their medical care providers.

After watching a video and talking about it together – you can help your child make a plan.

  • What is the next step s/he can take to more independently interact with health professionals?
  • What can s/he do to plan ahead before a medical appointment?
  • What supports does s/he need from you – and what does s/he now want to do independently?

Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network Health Transition toolkit

A great youth resource exploring topics such as relationships, sexuality, balance, and wellness through the personal stories of young adults with diverse gifts and disabilities. These young leaders and advocates share stories that will resonate with and empower your child. Download the PDF free here.

Being a Healthy Adult guidebook

This user-friendly guide is jam-packed with discussion questions and activities that help youth develop health care self advocacy skills. It was developed by the Elizabeth Boggs Center for Developmental Disabilities and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. PDF and audio versions can be downloaded for free here.

Moving Into Adult Health Care guidebook

Created by youth for youth, this guidebook looks at the health care rights and responsibilities that come with turning 18 – and how youth can prepare for this coming of age moment. Published by Connecticut Kids as Self Advocates (KASA), the PDF can be downloaded free here.

Teenshealth website

A youth-friendly site where your child can research diverse health and wellness topics through videos, quizzes and articles. There’s a ton of great content here. And – every article has an audio option in both English and Spanish. Check it out here.

 

 

Photo credit: get directly down at Flickr

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