As teens with inflammatory bowel
disease (IBD) become adults, the health care provider who oversees their
care will switch from a pediatric gastroenterologist to an adult provider. Planning
for this transition can help teens take
on more responsibility for managing their inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
When Should Teens With IBD Transition Health Care?
It depends on the person, but most teens with inflammatory bowel disease should
transition to an adult health care provider when they're between 18 and 21 years old.
Many young adults are going to college or moving away from home at this age. It's
important for teens to learn how to take care of themselves and make independent decisions
about their health.
How Can Teens With IBD Prepare to Transition Health Care?
Starting as early as 12 years old, teens with inflammatory bowel disease can start
to take charge of their health. Parents can supervise, then give more responsibilities
as their child gets older.
To help prepare for this transition, teens should know:
about inflammatory bowel disease
when to get care
the names of all medicines, their dosages and when to take them, common side effects,
and interactions with other medicines
if they have allergies to food or medicine
the answers to most questions about their health and medical history
contact the care team
manage medical tasks outside of home
the consequences of not following the treatment plan
about insurance coverage and to always carry their insurance information with
What Should Teens Do Before Going to College or Living on Their Own?
Before moving away from home, teens with inflammatory bowel disease should:
Have copies of their medical records, including medicines, allergies, immunizations,
testing, and the gastroenterologist's name and phone number.
Find a gastroenterologist close to where they're living and coordinate with the
doctor at home.
Teens going to college should:
Contact student health services to coordinate care with their gastroenterologist.
Contact the school's Office of Disability Services and talk to professors about
accommodations and academic plans in case of illness.
Teens who start a job should:
Tell their employer how inflammatory bowel disease might affect work.
How Can We Find a Doctor Who Specializes in IBD?
To find a doctor who specializes in caring for people with inflammatory bowel disease:
Ask your current health care provider for list of gastroenterologists.
Contact student health services at the college for referral to local gastroenterologists.
Go to http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org or contact your local chapter of
the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.