Moving Your Care to an Adult Doctor

Knowledge is power so let's get you ready to take charge of your health!

The Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock is ready to help you, and your family, learn how to transition your care to an adult doctor (which we call a “provider”) by the time you are between the ages of 19 and 22. Beginning at age 12, our team can begin the step-by-step process with you to learn about what makes adult care different and what kinds of decisions and responsibilities you will have as you get older. We will spend time during each of your visits, without your parent in the room, to help you set up your health priorities and to support you in feeling confident in being able to manage your own health care.

At age 18, you will legally become an adult. We respect that many of our young adult patients choose to continue to involve their families in health care decisions. However, once you turn 18, we will no longer be allowed to discuss anything about your care with your parents (or guardian) or share any personal health information without your written approval (called “consent”). To allow others to be involved in your health care decisions requires a signed consent form, which we have at our clinic. If you have a condition that prevents you from making decisions, we will ask your family to think about options to support your decision-making.

Most young adults change to an adult provider between age 19 and 22, or after they complete school. We are here to help you with this process, which includes helping you to identify an adult provider, sending your medical records and communicating with your new adult provider about your unique needs.

Types of primary care providers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

  • Internal Medicine providers specialize in caring for adults over 16 years of age.
  • Family Medicine providers offer comprehensive medical care to the entire family, including infants and the elderly.

Providers in these teams may be medical doctors (MDs), doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs), or advanced practice providers (physician assistants/PAs or advanced practice nurse practitioners/APRNs). All have extensive training and can partner with you to understand the whole picture of your health and guide you as you focus on your own health goals.

Examples of planning to transition to adult care

13 year visit

  • Find out what it means to assume more responsibility for your health.
  • Learn about privacy laws and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and how they affect you.
  • Discover how you can use myD-H, our online patient portal.

15 year visit

  • Take another step towards owning your own health care and making important decisions.
  • Find out what privacy laws apply when you turn 18.
  • Learn about more features available to you in myD-H.
  • Find out what to look for in a health care provider and also how to talk to your provider about what matters most to you.
  • Learn about guardianship and alternatives if you require caregiver support.

17+ year visit

  • Learn what to expect at your first adult appointment.
  • Understand your insurance coverage options.
  • Find out how to get a copy of your medical record or health care record.
  • Continue the discussion about talking with your new provider about you and your health.

If you have any questions along the way, let your provider know. Your health is important to us. We are here to help you be successful as you start a new journey with your adult doctor.

Content adapted from ©Got Transition™/Center for Health Care Transition Improvement, 01/2014.