Supporting you in your journey from children’s services into adult services
What is transition?
In healthcare, we use the word “transition” to describe the process of preparing, planning and moving from children’s services to adult care. 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 your healthcare needs as an adult are likely to be. 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 fixed time that is right for everyone we normally start the process of getting ready early around age 13 or 14. The purpose of this process 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.
Can I choose where I move to?
Part of the transition process should be helping you to look at where your on-going healthcare needs can best be met and how this will fit in with your future plans. In some cases this may be your own family GP or our adult services within the hospital. The choices will be appropriate to your condition and your consultant or nurse will be able to give you the best indication of what this is likely to be. If there is a choice of places, it is a good idea to visit all of them and then decide which is best for you.
The transition process
- We use Ready Steady Go transition plan to help gradually plan and prepare you for adult services. This usually starts when you are 14 years old.
- Ideally you can fill this out online and it will be emailed straight to your healthcare professional or you can email it to yourself if you don’t have their email.
- The process will help guide your healthcare team to what areas we need to focus on to get ready so it is ok to mark things as I would like some help or advice with this.
Who can help me get ready?
Your healthcare team will be able to give you information and support about moving on. They can help you get ready for adult services by:
- 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/where 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 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’ role remains essential to the transition process.
Try to talk to them and your healthcare team about how you feel about moving on to adult care and any questions or concerns you might have. Also, feel free to discuss practical issues relating to your health with them, such as getting to appointments, obtaining repeat prescriptions and asking questions at clinic.
While transition is all about you, it is important to realise that your parents/carers may also be finding the process difficult as now they are handing over the responsibility to you. This can be hard for many parents/carers, 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?
The transition process will be slightly different for every person, but your healthcare team should be able to provide you and your family with information about it. By talking about transition early, you should have plenty of time for discussions and questions, ensuring that you are fully prepared when the time comes to make the move to adult services.
Growing up is difficult, but having a chronic condition can make things even more challenging. This can put a strain on our emotional well-being and sometimes we all need a bit of help. If you are struggling with anxiety, low mood or stress, you might some of the resources below useful.
- Free, anonymous online support for young people is available at kooth.com
- Apps that you may find useful include the Headspace app, helping with guided mediation and mindfulness, and the Dreamykid app offering meditation for kids.
- The Mix– is a support service for under 25s, covering a range of issues.
- catch-22.org.uk– Catch22 provides social welfare services to help people in tough situations to turn things around.
- Support for children and young people to manage their mental health can be found at youngminds.org.uk
- Find out about mental health services for children (CAMHS) on the NHS website. If you think you need a CAMHS referral, make an appointment to talk to your GP.
Local help can be found on the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust website.
Bullying is never acceptable. If you are being bullied, please speak to someone you trust. Further information can be found at:
- The Childline website.
- Support for victims of bullying and their families is available from Bully Busters.
- Find out more about bullying at school and the law on the GOV.UK website.
- Information and support around self-harm is available on the Childline website.