Q: We're moving to a different state due to my job. How can I help my daughter feel comfortable with her new diabetes care team? We’re both nervous. Our old doctor and CDE are like members of our family.
A: It’s not easy to say goodbye to a trusted diabetes care team, especially if these are people who have been in your daughter’s life since her diagnosis. As a first step in this transition process, have you let your current doctor and diabetes educator know about your impending move? If you have already decided on a care team in your new location, your current team can provide you with a medical release form to sign that will allow them to send a copy of your daughter’s files. At the same time, you may also be asked to sign a provider-to-provider contact form. This document grants permission for both old and new care teams to communicate and freely share relevant information with each other concerning your daughter.
Just what kind of information are we talking about? In addition to your child’s current A1C levels, most recent antibody lab results and other medical data, your old team can fill in your new team on some personal details, such as the name of your family pet, your daughter’s favorite TV show, and other likes and dislikes. These can make it easier for your new doctor and diabetes educator to bond with your daughter.
You may feel comfortable asking your old practice what exactly they plan to share. But also be sure to ask the new practice how receptive they are to receiving this information. If they’re not, that could be a red flag about this particular clinic’s approach to transitioning new patients.
If all is well, next learn more about basic care routines at the new practice. How do they handle emergencies? Who do you call after hours, on weekends, or when your child comes home sick from school?
Finding out this kind of information can be helpful in boosting your own confidence -- and when parents feel more relaxed about stressful things in life, like moving, kids tend to follow their lead. Likewise, if you’re nervous about the transition, you may see this reflected in your child.
To help ease the anticipation before your first appointments with the new doctor and diabetes educator, consider setting up a quick meet-and-greet visit just to make introductions. Let your daughter know that, just like her old doctor, her new doctor (and the rest of the team) is there to keep her healthy. It can take a few appointments before your daughter feels completely at ease, but with any luck, before you know it, this team will begin to feel like family, too.
One more tip: Your old care team would probably love to know how your daughter is doing in her new home, so consider dropping them a line. As you start a new chapter in life, it’s always nice to know that old friends are still there wishing you well.
-- Kelley Cerasuolo, R.N., M.S.N., C.P.N.P., is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Texas Children's Hospital’s Diabetes and Endocrine Care Center in Houston, Texas
How Other Parents Deal
“At our first appointment with our new doctor, he asked my son about his favorite sports team and then proceeded to chat with him for the next 15 minutes like the two of them were on a sports news show. I think our old doctor must have written down in Jake's records that he's a basketball nut, but whatever prompted that conversation, it certainly broke the ice -- very quickly!”
-- Maggie L, Chicago, mom of 9-year-old Jacob
Disclaimer: The information in these articles is not intended as medical advice. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding individual care.
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