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Transition: moving into adult care

Information for young people and families

What is transition?

In healthcare, we use the word “transition” to describe the process of preparing, planning and moving from children’s to adult services.

Transition is a gradual process that gives you, and everyone involved in your care, time to get you ready to move to adult services and discuss what healthcare needs you will require as an adult.

This includes deciding which services are best for you and where you will receive that care. Transition is about making plans with you - and not about you.

We understand that moving away from a team of doctors and nurses that you have been with for many years can be scary but hopefully, by getting involved in the transition process, you will feel more confident and happier about the move.

Why do I have to move?

As you get older, you will find that some of the things you want to discuss or some of the care you might need is not properly provided by our children’s services.

Adult services are used to dealing with all sorts of issues that may arise, such as higher education, travelling, careers and sex.

You may also find that you would prefer to be seen in a more grown-up environment, rather than the usual children’s departments or wards.

When do I have to move?

There is no exact time that is right for everyone.

The purpose of this leaflet is to get you thinking about moving on and preparing for it.

Your doctors and nurses may have an idea about when they feel that you might be ready, but it is important that you are involved in that decision.

Who can help me get ready?

Your healthcare team will be able to give you information and support about moving on.

  • Teaching you about your condition or illness, its treatment and any possible side effects
  • When you are ready, seeing you on your own for part of the clinic appointment and working towards seeing you on your own for the whole clinic appointment
  • Making sure you know when to get help and who to contact in an emergency
  • Helping you understand how your condition or illness might affect your future education and career plans
  • Making sure you know about the support networks available
  • Making sure you understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, diet, smoking and sex

Your family

Your parents or carers have been really important in looking after your health and will be able to give you lots of helpful advice.

While you are in the process of transitioning, your parents will still be very involved in your care and their role is still important.

Try to talk to them and your health care team about how you feel about moving on to adult care and any questions or concerns you might have.

Also try to discuss practical issues relating to your health, such as getting to appointments, obtaining repeat prescriptions and asking questions in clinic.

While transition is all about you, it is important to realise that your parents may also be finding the process difficult as now they are handing over the responsibility to you.

This can be hard for many parents and they may have worries of their own.

You may find talking to them about your feelings and allowing them a chance to tell you how they feel, will help you all through the process.

Questions you may like to discuss with your healthcare team:

  • What is the plan for my transition?
  • When am I moving to adult services?
  • Can I choose which adult service I move to?
  • What is different about the adult service?
  • Can I meet the adult staff before I leave children’s services?
  • Can I visit the adult service to look around?
  • Are there any young people I can talk to about moving to adult services?
  • What do I need to know before I move to the adult service?
  • When can I start getting more involved in my health care?
  • How will my condition affect my future, such as my education and employment prospects?


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