Finding The Right New Team

13445477_1138380332913525_5023360275583361463_n

BY ALLEN FRIEDLAND, MD, FACP, FAAP

I urge you to ask your current team for advice on where to look locally/regionally. It is not easy to do a web search to find these practices (wouldn’t that be nice).

As a physician that has an interest in the care of young adults with special health care needs, I hear from patients and families all the time about how hard it is to find a physician that is willing, knowledgeable and accessible to be the primary care physician and/or be the specialist physician once a person with a complex history turns 18–21 years of age.

In general, years have gone into developing a strong relationship to a physician or team of physicians and other professionals only to have to start again in many instances. This leaves patients and families vulnerable to the potential medical consequences of not having the right care (e.g. more hospitalizations, worsened diabetic control, more transplants lost) and the tremendous anxieties that go along with the process of finding the “right new team.”

As a physician board certified in both internal medicine (care of adults) and pediatrics (care of children) or  “Med-Peds,” I care for patients/families of all ages and all types of conditions and I am not alone. Physicians across the country (with the same and different backgrounds of training than I have) started to develop primary care and specialty practices to make this transition easier for those people with complicated conditions.

I urge you to ask your current team for advice on where to look locally/regionally. It is not easy to do a web search to find these practices (wouldn’t that be nice).

The process of getting ready to transition to adult care should not start right before the 18th or 21st birthday. It should start much earlier. By the ages of 12 – 14, the plans and skills needed for this transition should begin to take hold. One great source of information on this is www.gottransition.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Allen Friedland is a medicine/pediatrics doctor in Newark, Delaware and is affiliated with Christiana Care Hospital. He received his medical degree from University at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and has been in practice for more than 20 years, and is one of 15 doctors at Christiana Care Hospital who specialize in Medicine/Pediatrics.