Turning 18 for High School Seniors
An Important Reminder for Parents!
Turning 18 for High School Seniors presents a medical dilemma. This is an important reminder for parents. Once your child turns 18, you no longer have access to their medical records and doctors. That magic number 18 shuts doors for parents still trying to assist their child when making medical decisions.
Managing a child with a chronic illness? Parents, add this to your List of Things To Do Senior Year.
Of course those same issues apply for ANY parent and teen. If you have a High School Senior, it is important to review this before your teen leaves the nest.
Trust me! Two hospitals and a five hour ambulance ride with our 18 year old taught us how important it is!
Teens are not always ready
Life with Type 1 Diabetes involves far too many medical appointments and hospital visits. Hundreds of medical decisions and appointments shared together with my kid.
Even when a “child” suddenly turns 18 and qualifies as an “adult”, they are not always ready to take on responsibility of all their medical decisions.
Speaking from experience
Within 24 hours of sending our Type 1 Diabetic son to his College Freshman Camp, we received a call from a college camp counselor that our son was being admitted to a hospital. He was in serious DKA from his diabetes. DKA can be deadly. It is so serious the hospital in that small Texas town could not handle him.
They were going to be shipping him out… anywhere…just some place capable of handling his potentially deadly condition.
Over 250 miles from home and the hospital was preparing to ship him out to another hospital within a 500 mile radius from us.
Scary. We had not even been able to speak with our son. We just started driving…and hoped they would tell us where he was going.
At 18, he was officially an adult
At 18, he was officially an adult but he was still my child. And he was far too sick to be making any decisions for himself.
There is nothing worse than being in that situation and the hospital won’t let you speak to your child. They won’t give you any information either. All because of the rules with HIPAA.
For any parent with a High School Senior, I highly recommend you read up on HIPAA. You and your teen are going to need to know this.
We were prepared
Thankfully, we were prepared for just this type of situation. We had a Medical Power of Attorney in place for our son so we could make decisions for him. It also gave the hospital the right to speak with us about his condition.
My son really did not want to get the bills from the hospital either! This also gave us the right to speak with the hospital regarding billing.
Having the appropriate legal documentation in place allowed us to still be involved with our son’s medical care.
Are YOU ready?
I know it’s so easy to get caught up with Graduation parties and decorating dorm rooms. But this is one more thing you need to add to your List of Things To Do.
It applies to ALL teens turning 18, we just happen to have one who is Type 1 Diabetic. If you know friends with graduating High School seniors, share this with them too.
Five hours by ambulance – a moving ICU
After driving two and a half hours to reach our son, the hospital decided to send our son to The Medical Center in Houston, Texas. It would be a five hour ambulance ride manned by two attendants in addition to a driver. A moving Intensive Care Unit.
By talking with us, the ER doctor decided Houston would be the best place for him. We are thankful for the smart and compassionate doctor who treated him in our absence with our input over the phone.
We were thankful we were able to tell the hospital that we had Medical Power of Attorney for our son so they would speak with us. We also have this documentation in an electronic format so we can easily share it with others in an emergency.
Since HIPAA impacts billing, my son was grateful that we could pay the two hospital visits and five hour ambulance ride. Without the proper documentation, we would not have been able to negotiate the bill on his behalf.
We plan for the worst
Type 1 Diabetes teaches you to plan for the worst. We have had a rough ride with this brutal disease during our son’s teen years. Some close calls have taught us to always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Oh the stories we could tell…
We are just sharing what we learned so other parents can be prepared too.
Written by Anne Imber
published on 4/19/2017
Anne Imber is the mom to a Type 1 Diabetic son diagnosed in 2009. As the Founder of Type 1 To Go Teen, Anne shares her experiences with other Type 1 families regarding many of the non-medical issues that Type 1 Diabetic Teens face. The website www.Type1ToGo.com provides support materials from her presentations. Anne is also the Co-Founder of Cy Fair Type One Connection, a T1 School Advocacy & Support Group for one of the largest school districts in Texas.
This information provided for general use only.
It is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
All Rights Reserved.