The Division of Adolescent Medicine is a committed to improving the health of young people in British Columbia through clinical services, health promotion, education and training, advocacy, and research.
The Division advocates a strengths-based model of adolescent development, focusing on health and well-being, and the transition to adulthood. We communicate with patients and families in a way that is clear, respectful, and respects privacy and confidentiality.
Our clinic runs a bit differently then most other medical clinics out there. In our clinic the healthcare team sets aside a lot of time to get to know you as an individual, focusing not just on medical issues but your life as a whole.
In our clinic we take a whole person approach to care. Working with teens between the ages 12-18, we see youth that have preexisting medical conditions that are being complicated by developmental and social issues and teens that have been impacted by health challenges that are interfering with their ability to function. We offer a clinic where comprehensive assessment, goal planning and resource finding can lead to a place of better health and wellbeing for youth.
Often we talk with you about friendships, dating, school, family, sexuality, jobs, home life, sleep, eating, health conditions, social activities, drugs, and your mood just to name a few topics. We want to work with you to support you where you need to help you move successfully toward a healthy adulthood, and in some cases adult care. And if we are not the best place to help you meet your needs we also offer referrals to other professionals and resources to find the best support.
Youth are seen on their own and with their families, caregivers, or support persons as we strive encompass Youth Friendly and Family Centered practice.
Getting into the program
You need to be between 12 and 18 years old and get a referral* for one of the following reasons:
- Complex undiagnosed condition or symptoms
- Personal or family crisis effecting your health
- Risky health behaviors
- Sexual health questions and/or concerns
- Chronic medical condition and/or a disability
- Medical treatment planning
- Pediatric transition planing needs
*Note: A referral can come from youth, family or caregivers, a teacher, a doctor, a nurse or a social worker. We just need to know why you want to come and make sure this is the best clinic for you.
Booking an appointment
Contact the Youth Health Program Secretary or fax a referral form.
We have Youth Health Clinics on Mondays to Thursdays in the afternoon.
Please bring your BC Medical card, any letters or reports from your doctor and school, a list of your medicines, and any questions or ideas about what you want to get out of the visit.
We will ask for your consent to be involved in treatment and discussions. You have the right to access your own health information and to provide informed consent for your care. Please ask any questions you might have to make sure you understand the information.
Typically our first appointment will be hour and a half hours long. We will start by meeting with you and your support people whether that is your family, caregiver, friend or social worker to give everyone a brief outline of what to expect at the appointment. Then, if you agree, we will meet with you alone and talk about you to get an idea about your world. It is important to know that what we talk about is kept confidential and is not shared with anyone outside of the team without your permission.
You are the client and we would like to see you on your own. We also support family-centered care and involve your family (as defined by you) as much as possible. Also, with your written consent, the team members may ask to contact your school, counselor, doctor or others involved in your life for information to assist us provide best care for you.
Follow up visits are decided with you and your family before you leave from your first appointment. Typically we will see you 4-5 times for about 1 hour and then help you find supports closer to your home if longer support is needed. However, this varies with each youth and if you need more or less appointments we can make that happen. We make follow up appointment through our Program Secretary.
The program counsels young people about adolescent development, health and well-being, sexuality, and the transition to adulthood. The program also provides consultation as well as educational and training opportunities for professionals.
As a part of Specialized Pediatrics we address concerns about teens personal, social, and physical development, their mental wellbeing, substance use, sexual health, safety and risk taking behaviors as well as transition to adulthood and possibly adult care in relation to their health. Youth are seen on their own and with their families, caregivers, or support persons as we strive encompass Youth Friendly and Family Centered practice.
Find out what your rights are in regards to consent, confidentiality and the healthcare system.
Consenting to treatment is the same as giving your doctor permission to treat you. Doctors aren't allowed to examine or treat you without your consent.
The age when children begin to give their own consent varies, it is not measured in years. You are able to give your own consent when you are able to fully understand your choices and their consequences. Until then, your parent or guardian will make these decisions on your behalf.
If you have more questions about consent, talk to your health care provider.
If you visit the Youth Health Clinic, your information will be kept private. No one will share your information without your knowledge and permission. The only time this changes is if you are clearly at risk of hurting yourself or someone else at which point we would involve the necessary people to keep you safe.
Here are some questions you might want to ask your nurse or doctor, to help you with your healthcare decisions:
Why do I need to have this test/treatment?
What happens during this test/treatment?
If I have the treatment, how much better will I be? What is the worst thing that could happen?
Are there other treatment options?
What could happen if I choose to do nothing for the time being?
What are the most common things that could go wrong?
Who will do this procedure? What experience does he/she have?
What things can go wrong during the anesthesia?
What care will I need after this procedure in the short and long term? How will I get this care?
How can I expect to feel after this procedure? Will there be any changes to my daily life?
Repeat back information to make sure you understand correctly.
Make notes so you can go over things later with your friends or family.
If you have concerns, write them down so you don't forget to ask about them.
Take a minute to review the Consent
to Treatment handbook so you are prepared before coming to the hospital.
I have the right to live and to have my pain and suffering treated, regardless of my age, gender or income. I have the right to be viewed first as a child, then as a patient.
I have the right to be treated as a unique individual with my own abilities, culture and language.
I have the right to be afraid and to cry when I feel hurt.
I have the right to be safe in an environment that is unfamiliar to me.
I have the right to ask questions and receive answers that I can understand.
I have the right to be cared for by people who perceive and meet my needs ven though I may be unable to explain what they are.
I have the right to speak for myself when I am able and to have someone speak on my behalf when I am unable.
I have the right to have those dear to me close by when I need them.
I have the right to play and learn even if I am receiving care.
I have the need to have my rights fulfilled.\
Here are some points specific to staying in the hospital, but please go to our Youth Rights page for full details.
While you are in the hospital, staff will ask for your consent to do a number of things. They need your consent whenever they need to touch you or do anything to or with you. They ask for consent in this way, "Is it all right with you if I...?" After they ask for your consent you have the right to ask them questions until you feel comfortable saying yes. Some of your questions might be "Why will you be doing that? / How will you do it? / Will it hurt? / How long will it take?" If you do not feel comfortable with any of the explanations, you can refuse consent until your questions and concerns have been answered. Sometimes you will need to consent in writing to a surgery or treatment. The hospital staff are here to support you and your family make those more difficult decisions.
Being in the hospital is a private matter. Your health condition and treatments are also private. No staff person should give any information about you to anyone who might call the hospital or visit without your permission. You also must respect the privacy of other patients and not share what you might have heard on the unit.
While you are in the hospital, your bed and cupboard is your private space. It is also important to respect other patients' private space.
You have the right to information about yourself. We encourage you to ask questions and get involved in your health care. You can ask your charge nurse if you can read your medical chart. Your parents can also ask to see your chart, but they need YOUR permission first.
When you are in hospital - many doctors, nurses and other team members will visit you. You might feel that they are asking you a million questions. But what about YOUR questions? It is great to have questions. Everyone wants and needs to know about themselves. If anyone is to be an expert on your body or health, it should be YOU!
Here are some ideas about how you can get your questions answered:
- Plan ahead - think about what you want to ask and write the questions down. Ask your nurse for a clipboard, a pencil and paper, or write it on the whiteboard in your room.
- Write the answers down.
- Make sure you understand the answer -ask them to explain if you have any questions. If you don’t understand, keep asking until you do.
- Ask an adult to help you to ask your questions.