Your Child's Move (Transition) to Adult Care

Many transitions happen throughout our lives. 

What do we mean by transitioning when your child is involved in health and/or social care services?

Transition is the process of preparing to move from children's to adult services. It is a gradual process that gives your child, family and everyone involved in their care time to get ready and discuss their healthcare needs as an adult. 

Transition helps your child to become responsible for their care and make independent decisions. 

A transition plan such as Ready Steady Go will be used to gradually plan and prepare your child for adult services. This usually starts when they are 14. If they are over 14 and your team hasn’t mentioned transition to yet, then ask them about it at your next appointment.

Why do children need to move their care?

Your child is becoming a young adult and will need care from specialist adult-trained doctors and nurses.

Adult services will be the best place for them to get the correct care.

As they get older, they 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 your child will be given. In the adult services the doctors and nurses will spend more time talking to your child rather than you.

They 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.

People aged 16 or over are entitled to consent to their own treatment if they have the mental capacity. Like adults, young people (aged 16 or 17) are presumed to have sufficient capacity to decide on their own medical treatment, unless there's significant evidence to suggest otherwise.

Where will your child go?

Part of the transition process is to look at where your child’s ongoing healthcare needs can be best met.

This video from the Bassetlaw CCG will help you and your child understand what the process is like to find the right transitioning services. 

Your support is very important

Despite your child gaining more independence as they move into adult services, your support will still be very important for their health and development.

If it feels right then try talking to them about how they 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 they will manage appointments, getting to clinics, collecting prescriptions and which questions to ask.

Helping adolescents with stresses

Young people might:

  • Take more risks or take part in risk taking activities
  • Make impulsive decisions
  • Express stronger or more emotions

Adolescents can go through many stresses, and it is a time in a young person’s life where they may choose to adopt coping mechanisms to try and reduce the pressures and stresses. Some of those coping mechanisms can be healthy, for example joining team supports and after school clubs, and others can be less healthy, for example experiment with alcohol and smoking.

The transition of moving into adult services can also add to the stress, therefore it is important that you are helping to shape their adult brain:

  • Encourage positive behaviour
  • Promote good thinking skills
  • Help them to get lots of sleep
  • Leave space in family life for them to talk to you

NHS Statement

NHS England and NHS Improvement is developing a national framework for transition and their ambition is that ​​by 2028, no child or young person will be able to become lost in the gaps between children’s and adults services, and that their experience of moving between services is safe, well planned and prepared for and they feel supported and empowered to make decisions about their health and social care needs.