Transition: moving into adult care

Teenage patient and nurse

What is transition?

Transition is the process of preparing to move from children’s to adult services.

It is a gradual process that gives you and everyone involved in your care time to get ready and to discuss your healthcare needs as an adult. Transition helps you to become responsible for your care and make decisions about your care.

A transition plan such as Ready Steady Go will be used to gradually plan and prepare you for adult services. This usually starts when you are 14.

If you are over 14 and your team hasn’t mentioned transition to you yet, then ask them about it at your next appointment.

Why do I have to move?

You are becoming a young adult and need care from specialist adult-trained doctors and nurses. Adult services will be the best place for you to get the correct care.

As you get older you may also want to be cared for in a grown up environment, rather than in children’s departments and wards.

What will be different in adult services?

One of the main differences is the amount of independence you will be given. In the adult services the doctors and nurses will spend more time talking to you than your parents. You may also choose to go to appointments alone.

Adult services also have more experience in talking about adult issues like employment, travelling and sexual health.

Where will I go and can I choose?

Part of the transition process is to look at where your ongoing healthcare needs can be best met. Where possible, we will give you a choice of where you can go for your care.

If you live in Sheffield and have ongoing health issues, then it is most likely you will go to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (the Royal Hallamshire Hospital or Northern General Hospital) for your physical needs and/or Sheffield Health and Social Care for your mental health needs.

If you live outside Sheffield, your team will talk to you about whether a local adult service or a service in Sheffield would be better for you.

If you have a choice of places, you may want to visit them to help you make a decision.

In an emergency, usually you would go to your nearest adult Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department after you turn 16. However it may still be appropriate for you to attend Sheffield Children’s for particular types of care – your team will discuss this with you.

Who can help me get ready?

Your healthcare team will give you the help and support to ensure you are confident and ready for the move to adult services. They can help you by:

  • giving you greater control to look after your own healthcare
  • teaching you about your condition, treatments and medications and possible side effects or complications
  • starting to see you on your own for a short part of your appointment, working towards seeing you on your own for the whole clinic appointment
  • making sure you know who to contact if you have any concerns or want to make or change appointments
  • helping you understand how your condition may impact your lifestyle, future education or career plans
  • arranging for you to meet the teams at adult services who will be responsible for your care
  • visiting adult services with you so you can familiarise yourself with the adult setting

What if I am not ready?

We understand that you may have been attending Sheffield Children’s for many years and moving can feel daunting.

By talking about transition early, it allows plenty of time for you to ask questions and discuss any concerns. This should fully prepare you when the time comes to move to adult services.

There is no set time that is right for everyone and every young person is individual. Your doctors and nurses will have an idea when you are ready to move and you will be involved in that decision too.

Lots of support will be provided by your team.

Your family

Your parents or carers are important in looking after your health. They will remain an important during transition and will help to support you.

Please understand that your parents may find transition difficult. They are handing responsibility to you and this can be hard for many parents. They will have worries of their own.

Try talking to your parents about how you feel about moving to adult services. You may find it helpful to talk to them about your feelings and to allow them to express their feelings too.

It is also worth discussing practical issues like how you will manage appointments, getting to clinics, collecting prescriptions and asking questions.

Youth Forum

Sheffield Children’s has a Youth Forum for young people aged 12 to 18. The forum gets together every six weeks on a Wednesday from 6pm to 7.30 pm and works actively to help improve the hospital for young people. You may want to use your experiences to help other young people.

To get involved email communications@sch.nhs.uk.

Transition team

Most of your discussions about transition will be with the doctors and nurses in the services managing your care. Please feel free to ask them any questions you have.

However Sheffield Children’s also has a specialist transition team, who you may end up speaking to during your transition journey. To talk to them call 0114 271 7223 or email transitionnurse@sch.nhs.uk.

You can download the contents of this page as a PDF leaflet: ‘Transition: moving into adult care‘.

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