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Public Health Nursing Practice Manual

Adolescent 13-18 years Mental Health

  • Emotional changes are common at this stage, which may be attributed to hormonal changes.

  • Body image concerns, low self-esteem and peer pressure may result in mental health issues.

Primary Care Provider

  • An assigned health care provider for the adolescent ensures continuity of care.

  • Adolescent should be scheduled for well child checkups and health assessment according to the periodicity schedule.

  • Routine use of the emergency room leads to episodic and disjointed care.

  • Adolescent girls should receive an annual pap smear and pelvic exam once sexually active or at age 18, which ever comes first.

Health Care Coverage

  • Almost all children in California qualify for some type of health care coverage.

  • Caregiver understands how to access health care including after hours and emergency care.

Dental Care

  • Braces may necessitate increased attention to dental hygiene.

  • Extra care should be taken when brushing because hormonal changes cause a change in the mouth bacterial flora making the teen more prone to decay.

  • New mouth bacteria may be introduced through shared straws, drinks, and kissing which may increase the risk of dental decay.

  • Poor food choices can lead to increased tooth decay.

  • Encourage use of fluoridated toothpaste and daily flossing.

  • Encourage preventive dental appointments every six months.

Family Violence

  • Children in homes with violence may exhibit violent behavior or increased isolation.

  • Domestic Violence 800-978-3600 or local resource.

  • L.A. County Domestic Violence Council Resources and Information: 888-994-7575.

Safety and Injury Prevention

  • Homicide and suicide are major causes of death in the United States.

  • Violence, including gang related violence, is a major source of adolescent injury and trauma in the United States.

  • The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teen drivers than any other age group.

  • Adolescents must wear a seat belt when riding in vehicles according to State law.

  • Child Abuse Hotline: 800-540-4000.

  • Poison Control: 800-222-1222.

  • Encourage the caregiver to discuss tattooing, piercing, and the possibility of infection, scarring, and lifelong adverse health consequences.

  • Adolescents must wear a helmet when biking and when using skates/scooters/skateboards according to State law.

© 2007 LAC DPH - Public Health Nursing


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