A Summer Assignment
College kids need a physical, too, and now's a good time
Parents have an educational role to play, before and after the appointment. Daughters need to know that when a doctor asks if she could be pregnant, it's not out of nosiness and it's not a value judgment, explains Lesley Sacher, director of the student health center at Florida State University. For the future, they might benefit from a discussion of how to get out of a situation in which they're being pressured to have sex. Sons need to know about STDs and about how to read a woman's signals that no means no. Everybody needs to hear about the dangers of binge drinking.
The talk may be uncomfortable, but "these are life-course issues," says Brindis. "It's either pay now or pay later."
BACK ON CAMPUS...
When students are asked about their health, "I don't know" is not a good answer. Experts say they should be able to:
Offer a medical history. In the ER, it may be critical to be able to recount their own history, plus key details of the family history.
Make an appointment. And keep it. They should also be able to decipher their insurance card and understand the copay.
Fill a prescription. They also need to understand the importance of following instructions that come with it.
Release information. Privacy laws prevent the sharing of information about college-age kids. Students who want the doctor to fill in Mom and Dad need to ask to sign a release-of-information form, or they're on their own.