Transition to adult services
The following information explains about transition and the process we follow at our Trust.
The aim of Transition is to make sure your child’s move to adult services is as smooth as possible.
What is transition?
As your son or daughter is getting older, you will be thinking more about the future.
In health care, we use the term ‘transition’ to describe the process of planning, preparing and moving from children’s health care to adult health care. Transition is a gradual process of change, which gives everyone time to ensure that young people and their families are prepared and feel ready to make the move to adult health care.
When should transition happen?
The process should start at around 12 years of age, but will vary from person to person.
You will meet the teams of the children’s services over the course of the next six years, and gradually their care will be handed over to the adult services who have gotten to know them.
At the age of 18, your child is now legally an adult, and the team should have prepared your teenager sufficiently to be able to be cared for by adult services.
Young people with learning disabilities may continue to be seen by children’s services up until the age of 25. The Learning Disability & Autism Nurse for Children will ensure that the date of transition occurs when your teenager is ready.
Often young people will also be experiencing other transitions at a similar time, such as moving from secondary school to sixth form college or starting work.
Who organises transition?
We want to make the transition as easy as possible for you and your teenager.
The Learning Disability & Autism Nurse for Children will be responsible for organising their transition. She will also be responsible for ensuring that both you and your teenager are supported throughout this process and receive all the preparation needed to feel ready to move to adult services.
She will arrange to meet with you regularly and co-ordinate the child and adult services together to ensure a smooth transition.
Patients should have a written ‘Transition Process’ and ‘Transition Plan’, which outlines the timings of key phases of the transition process, the expected time for the eventual transfer and details of any specific concerns, queries or requirements that you or your teenager may have in relation to the move to adult services.
It is important that both you and your teenager are comfortable with the transition and the new service.
Preparing for transition
We know that approaching a move to adult care can be a scary time in a young person’s life. As they get older, they will start to take more responsibility for things like medicines and treatments, just as they take on more responsibility in other areas of life.
As a parent, this can be a difficult time for you as well. It can take time for you to get used to handing over some of the responsibility.
Young people in adult services are generally seen as independent. The transition process often involves ensuring that your teenager has all the skills necessary to feel comfortable in the adult health care service.
In children’s services, parents are given the responsibility for managing young people’s health care, communicating with health care professionals and making important decisions. This is different to adult services, where the responsibility is usually given to the patient rather than the family.
However, you will still be able to give your teenager advice and be there to provide support.
Talking about transition
We value the role that families have in the health of children and young people. Because of this, we feel that parents have a great deal of valuable experience to offer young people who are in the transition process.
Families will often be able to give young people tips on how to organise appointments, find out information, remember medicines and treatments and which questions to ask during admission, ward rounds and clinics.
Families can also support young people in gradually developing independence and becoming more involved in their health care. Topics for you and your teenager to think over and discuss might include:
- Learning the names of regular medicines, why you need them, how much to take and how often
- Asking and answering questions about their health and treatments
- Seeing their doctor or nurse on their own, for part of clinic appointments or consultations
- Staying overnight in hospital without you sometimes.
- Keeping track of hospital appointments
- The ways that the our team can help your teenager feel ready to move to adult services.
The most difficult thing for some families is to break contact with the children’s service once the move to adult services has happened.
The Learning Disability and Autism Nurse for Children will follow you through the transition process and will continue to care for you until you are comfortable on the adult wards. The Learning Disability & Autism Nurse for Adults will then take over. She will continue ensure your care needs are met, will listen to you and help with any queries.