Transitioning to Adult Care | For Caregivers

Once children turn 18, they are legal adults. This means that as patients, young adults will be responsible for consenting for all of their own medical treatment.

Many 18 year olds still want their parents and caregivers support, especially when making complicated decisions regarding medical care. After all, as the young adult’s caregiver, you have been making the care decisions for 17 years and 364 days.

Should your young adult decide they want to share medical information with caregivers, they will need to sign a release of information. If your young adult has an intellectual disability or may need assistance making complex medical decisions, then petitioning to become your young adult’s legal guardian may be appropriate. This process is handled through the court system.

Your Child's Transfer to Adult Providers

A guide for parents

Your Child’s Transfer to Adult Providers: A Guide for Parents provides guidance to parents/caregivers as they help young adults navigating the transfer from pediatric to adult care providers.

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You may want to encourage your child to read this companion guide:

Transfer of Care guide for Young Adults

Transfer of Care to Adult Providers

A guide for young adults

Transfer of Care to Adult Providers: A Guide for Young Adults provides guidance to patients as they navigate the transfer from pediatric to adult care providers.

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Transferring care

Transition and transfer of care will look different for each family. If your young adult has an intellectual disability, you may become your his or her guardian, and continue to manage their medical care while transferring to new providers who are specifically trained in medical considerations for adults.

If young adults are their own guardians, in addition to the transfer of care, there will be a transfer of responsibility, and many of the tasks you’ve completed for years, such as scheduling appointments, communicating with providers and getting medications refilled, will now be the responsibility of your young adult.

Since you are no longer the legal guardian of your child, you will need permission from your child to speak with their medical providers.

What happens when I turn 18?

What Happens When I Turn 18? gives young adults information that they need about their responsibilities as legal adults. Learn about consenting, privacy/sharing information, assigning a health care proxy and more.

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Sharing medical information

When your young adult transfers to adult care, it is important to work with both the pediatric and adult medical teams to share information. It’s an important step to establishing a coordinated health care plan with your young adult’s new providers.

If you are your young adult’s guardian, be sure to carry a copy of the guardianship decree for all new appointments. If your young adult is their own guardian, encourage them to take these steps to share important medical information with the new providers:

  • Sign a release of medical records for all pediatric providers so that medical information can be shared with new adult provider.
  • Request that the adult provider signs up for the Boston Children’s Hospital Physician Portal, which allows outside providers to access records from Boston Children’s.
  • Ask for information on how to sign up for the Patient Portal at the adult provider’s practice.

Guardianship

What happens when my child turns 18?

Our guardianship booklets have information about what guardianship is and how to get it, including some state specific information and resources for families coming from the states where Boston Children’s Hospital patients generally come from.

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Some young adults may need more assistance with making decisions as they become adults. If your young adult has an intellectual disability, guardianship may be appropriate.

It’s important to help prepare your young adult for their first visit with an adult provider on their own. Keep in mind, your young adult may be able to stay on your plan until they are 26 years old.

A Parent's Guide to Health Insurance

Health Insurance Overview

A Parent’s Guide to Health Insurance is an overview of things to consider in guiding children through health insurance as they reach adulthood or, if they will not be able to navigate on their own due to disabilities, gives guidance on what to consider on their behalf.

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You may want to encourage your young adult to read the companion guide about health insurance.

A Young Adult's Guide to Health Insurance

Health Coverage and You: A Young Adult’s Guide to Health Insurance has information about things to consider related to starting out as an adult and navigating the insurance maze. It includes a helpful worksheet to help consider personal factors which might impact the choices.

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