GAPS Recommendations Compared with Traditional Approaches to Adolescent Health Care

GAPS Recommendations

Traditional Health Care

Provider plays an important role in coordinating adolescent health promotion. This role complements health guidance that adolescents receive from their family, school, and community.

Provider role is considered to be independent of health education programs offered by schools, family, and the community.

Preventive interventions target social morbidities such as alcohol and other drug use, suicide, STDs, (including HIV), unintended pregnancy, and eating disorders.

Emphasis is on biomedical problems alone, such as the medical consequences of health risk behaviors (e.g., STDs, unintended pregnancy).

Provider emphasizes screening of comorbidities; i.e., adolescent participation in clusters of specific health risk behaviors.

Emphasis is on the diagnosis and treatment of categorical health conditions.

Annual visits permit early detection of health problems and offer an opportunity to provide health education and develop a therapeutic relationship.

Visits are scheduled only as needed for acute care episodes or for other specific purposes (e.g., immunizations or an examination prior to participating in sports).

Provider performs three comprehensive physical examinations: one during early, middle, and late adolescence.

Current standards vary from as necessary to examinations every two years during adolescence.

It is recommended that all parents receive education about adolescent health care at least twice during the child's adolescence.

Parents are included in the health care of the adolescent solely at the discretion of the provider, who also serves as the sole decision maker of what health education topics should be addressed with parents.



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