Relocating can cause both excitement and angst for your entire family. And when your child has a bleeding disorder, you have even more to consider. Follow this checklist to make your family’s transition as smooth as possible.
- Coordinate with your hemophilia treatment center (HTC). “Your current HTC has a big role in the transition. The staff can help with transfer forms, arrange a final appointment, review your insurance plan and help you figure out which HTC might be in-network and near your new home,” says Jill Swenson, MSW, LICSW, a licensed social worker at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
“Contact your new HTC in advance and confirm that your child’s Medic-Alert® bracelet includes current information,” adds Melinda Inzani, MSW, LCSW, a licensed social worker in New Jersey who works with children and adults with chronic illnesses. Ask your new HTC to help connect you to your new chapter.
- Acquire ample medication. “Many times, families contact us in an emergency because their prescription will not be accepted or has expired following their move,” adds Bob Robinson, executive director of the Bleeding Disorders Alliance Illinois in Chicago.
“At least 30 days is ideal,” Swenson says. “Try to fill your prescription right before you move. Give yourself a month to transition.”
If you’re moving internationally, do your homework. “It is especially important to understand the import limitations and laws for medications so that you don’t find yourself without factor,” Robinson says.
- Contact your insurance provider. If your insurance changes, make sure you know how to fill new prescriptions. If you receive factor from a homecare company, a pharmacy that delivers prescriptions of factor to your home, your insurance company can help you navigate how to get factor in your new location.
- Anticipate anxiety. Your child may worry about answering health-related questions from new classmates. Role-playing can help. “Practice what kids might say in response to questions about their bleeding disorder,” Swenson suggests. “Kids don’t have to give too much information. The basics are enough.”
- Communicate with school staff. HTCs can help with your child’s school transition. “Your current HTC can send the new school a treatment letter so that the school nurse has information on file in case of emergency,” says Swenson. Schedule a tour of the school before your child’s first day and invite someone from your new HTC to join.
“HTC staff can help educate the school and advise on special accommodations for your child, particularly those related to an individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan for students with disabilities,” Swenson says.
As you’re checking these tasks off, also check in with your child. Offer information about the new HTC and new school. “Talking to kids ahead of time about what will change, and being fair and honest about those changes is important,” notes Swenson.
When appropriate, let your child make smaller decisions, like decorating his or her room. Answer children’s questions and acknowledge concerns. And as you pack up and make plans, take time to say goodbye to your current home and friends. Soon you’ll be settling into your new home, having laid the groundwork for a seamless transition.