What Does It Mean to Transition Health Care? 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 how to: schedule appointments order refills 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 them 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. 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Find out more - including what foods are safe and where to find them. Read More Celiac Disease People with celiac disease can't eat gluten, which is found in many everyday foods, such as bread. Find out more by reading this article for kids. Read More Taking Charge of Your Medical Care Figuring out health care is part of becoming an independent adult. Here are tips for teens on what that involves, and how to choose your own doctor. Read More Managing Your Medical Care Visit our center on managing your medical care for advice on how to get involved in taking charge of your health and choosing the right health care providers. Read More Choosing Your Own Doctor You deserve medical care from someone who helps you feel comfortable and understood. Get tips on finding the best doctor for you. Read More Dealing With a Health Condition If you suffer from a chronic illness, you know it can be anything but fun. But you can become better informed and more involved in your care. Here are tips to help you deal. Read More Giving Teens a Voice in Health Care Decisions Involving teens in their health care can help prepare them for managing it on their own as adults. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.