In health care we use the term "Transition" to describe the process of planning, preparing, and moving from a children's health care service to an adult based facility. The transition from one to another should be gradual, and it requires preparation and planning.
The Children's Hospital cares for all children up until their 18th birthday.
Many children have been coming since they were born, and may even have spent more time in hospital than at home or school at some point in their lives. So the transition from a paediatric family centred health system to the adult health system, can for some young people and their families, be a challenging time.
Our aim is to ensure that all young people with a chronic health condition develop the necessary skills and knowledge to manage their own health care needs (to the best of their ability) in the adult system by the time they leave The Children's Hospital.
In order for this to happen, transition planning should begin once they move into high school.
It is important that we take the time to do this so the young person can develop the skills and confidence needed to gradually take over the management of their condition as they move through their teenage years.
During this time the roles of parents, the health care team and the young person may change, moving back and forth as they develop new skills or their condition changes.
The health care team and parents role gradually moves from being that of "health care providers" to that of "care consultant", and the teenager with their newfound skills in self management eventually becomes the supervisor of their health.
However, preparation and planning are the keys to success. In order to help with this process we have developed a number of tools to assist families.
NSW is unique in having adult transition care coordinators employed by the Greater Metropolitan Clinical Taskforce/Transition (GMCT/T) and based in adult hospitals.
Their role is to assist families and young people navigate the adult system for the first time and help find resources in their local area.
The NSW Dept of Health Transition website has an enormous amount of information and I thank themfor their assistance in the development of resources.