Transferring from Children’s to Adult Services

Transfer is the point of care transfer from children’s to adult care. There is no fixed age. However, this usually happens between the ages of 16 and 18.

General Information

When you get older your needs change and an adult healthcare environment should suit you better. The healthcare professionals in adult services may know more about topics, such as travelling and going to college or university, than children’s services. 

Remember everyone’s transition experience is individual. This is because every young person has different needs, preferences and experiences. Healthcare professionals should take into account your cognitive ability, social and personal circumstances, wishes, communication needs and other responsibilities. 

Download our Transition Support Documents 

Transition Support Document 


Your GP will stay the same (unless you decide to move surgeries). However you may notice a few changes in your care as you begin the transitioning process. 

These can include:

  • Differences in the way your team communicates with you
  • Differences in appointment formats
  • More diverse support options
  • Healthcare professionals encourage you to start to take more responsibility for looking after yourself and being more independent

When there are lots of changes, it is very normal to feel unsure and have questions. Speaking to your GP or Transition Nurse may mean you get the most accurate answers to your questions. 

Becoming More Independent

Learning about your condition, medical history and treatments

This can be a daunting task, but you will probably be surprised about how much you already know. Many even say that you are the expert as you live with your condition day in, day out.

  • A good place to start can be writing down your medical history on either your phone or on paper. You may find it helpful to do this with someone who knows you well, such as a family member, GP or other health professional. Once you have your past medical history written down, you can use it during appointments and admissions to help remind you of all the important information. 
  • Next time you collect your medications, ask for a copy of your prescriptions. Take a photograph of the list so you have it to hand in an emergency or during an appointment.


Begin to take responsibility for your health, appointments and medication

  • Do appropriate, regular exercise, eat well and take part in activities that you enjoy.
  • Ask your parent or carer to go with you to the pharmacy to show you how to order and collect medication before trying it independently.
  • Ensure you have a reminder on either your phone or on paper about when your medication needs ordering/re-refills. Some phone applications also offer this function.
  • Ask your pharmacy if they could set up an automatic text notification that informs you when your medication is ready to collect.
  • Set up an alarm(s) to remind you when your medication is due to be taken.


Explore how your condition affects your education, employment, socialisation and independent living

  • Young people with specific individual needs, including those with disabilities should expect professionals from a range of services such as education, health and social care, to make a plan of what support needs to be in place, once you turn 18. 
  • Within the workplace, employers must make reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities, physical and/or mental health conditions. An example of this could be utilising ‘Access to Work’ which provides practical support and funding. 
  • Topics such as driving and family planning can be discussed with your healthcare team.

The Healthcare Transition Process from Children’s to Adult Services

Transition: the process of addressing medical, psychosocial and educational needs of young people with any chronic health condition as they move from children’s to adult services.

Health providers must initiate the start of a healthcare setting transition around the age of 12 and for many young people the process continues until the age of 21.


Make decisions in regards to your care, with support if needed

  • In adult services health professionals may talk directly to you, rather than to your parent or carer. 
  • You can bring tools such as communication passports, letter boards and electrical devices to appointments or hospital stays. A record can also be made to explain to professionals how you prefer to communicate and if any equipment is useful. 
  • You will be encouraged to make choices with support from your family and/or medical team. Knowing more about your condition can make these decisions easier. 
  • Letters may be addressed to you and you might be asked to sign consent forms yourself. 
  • You may need to provide permission for healthcare professionals to speak directly with your parents or carer. If you would like your parents or carers to be able to communicate directly with your team, then make sure you provide consent. This can be done in many ways, such as via email.


Be involved in goal setting during annual reviews

  • Take the time prior to the appointment to think of and note down some ideas. These could include some of the difficulties you have, as well as what is working well. 
  • Taking a trusted individual with you to your annual review can help ensure all the points you wish to discuss are mentioned. They can also remind you afterwards about what was said.


Helpful suggestions from other young people who have gone through or are going through the transition process

  • Some healthcare providers may have patient days where you can meet other young people who are transitioning in person or virtually. Contact your Team for more information. 
  • Ask if your healthcare setting has a Transition Team, if you haven’t already been invited to meet them.
  • Talk to someone who has experienced the process of moving from children’s to adult services.
  • Tell your healthcare team if you prefer an in person appointment or a phone or video call, as they may be able to accommodate your preference. 
  • Join a youth group. 
  • Remember there are many other young people transitioning at the same time as you. You are not alone.

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