The term transition is used to describe the process of planning, preparing and moving from children’s health services to adult health services. It is described as a process as it happens in stages over a few years.
When does transition happen?
The process usually starts around age 12 to 14 years in preparation for transferring to the adult service between 16 to 18 years of age. Not all young
people will transfer at the same age and the transition process helps to establish the right time for each individual young person.
What happens during the transition of care from children’s to adult services?
Transition is a gradual process which supports our young people and their families to understand their heart condition.
It will help develop the skills required for our young people to feel confident when talking about their hearts and to be able to manage their condition more independently.
Both the cardiology consultant and specialist nurse will coordinate the process. You will be invited to attend meetings with the specialist nurse who will provide information and support.
There are usually a minimum of three meetings but this is flexible and will depend on the support required to ensure both our young person and their family feel ready to move to the adult service.
What should my child expect?
The specialist nurse (and/or cardiology consultant) will provide education about their heart condition to ensure they understand their diagnosis, any procedures that have been undertaken and what may be required in the future.
Information is provided to help your child make informed choices regarding lifestyle and how to keep themselves healthy as they take on more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
Your child will also be introduced to the adult team who will be caring for them in the future.
How can I support my child through this process?
As a parent you will have been used to making the decisions regarding your child’s health such as organising appointments, arranging transport, ordering and administering medication and finding out information.
By supporting and encouraging your child to become more involved in their health care and do some of the things you have previously been doing for them will help to support the transition process.
Allowing your child to attend part of their clinic appointments by themselves (such as observations or scans) will also help to prepare them for attending appointments in the adult service where you may not be present.
The transition process is also there to support parents and we would encourage you to raise any concerns or worries you may have.