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Preparing for Adulthood

Transition between children's and adult health services

Planning for the future

As your child gets older, they may be able to start making their own decisions about a lot of things that matter most to them, this includes their health and wellbeing.

Children’s and adult health services are organised differently. If your young person has lots of health needs, there may be many changes to how they receive their health care and support as an adult.

Health teams such as those in your local doctor surgery or hospitals can help them become more independent in managing their own health and moving from children's health services to adult ones. In healthcare we sometimes call this 'transition'. Transition can be individualised to meet their needs by clinicians and professional involved.

It is important to start thinking about the transition for your child as they move from childhood to adulthood and the services they access. This can be done from the age of 14-18. You should involve your young person’s GP in planning the transition to adult health services, because they will become more closely involved when your young person turns 18.

To find out more visit: Transition: moving into adult care - patient information (

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Planning Process

Transitions can start between 14 to 18 years dependant on the service. This is to ensure adult services are aware of the young persons needs and the transition can be managed in a productive way by the young person, family and professionals.

If your child has complex health needs, they should have a named professional in charge of helping their move to adult health services.

You and your child should be at the centre of the planning process. You should be able to ask questions and give views. The professionals supporting your young person should listen to your views and involve you in decisions about the future.

If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan their health needs will be recorded as part of their plan. It is important that the professionals who have supported your young person as a child, speak to their colleagues in adult health services in plenty of time. This is to ensure adult staff are fully trained to meet your young person’s health needs and changes to adult equipment and buildings are made.

Other Adult Health Services

As your young person moves to college, day services, employment, respite care or a new home, they may need a new specialist adult physiotherapist, occupational therapist, learning disabilities nurse or speech and language therapist.

Young People with Life-limiting Conditions

Together for short lives is a charity that offers transition support for young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. It sets out key standards and goals across healthcare, social care, education, work and housing.

Transition planning for these young people may need to acknowledge that their condition may deteriorate, and they may require end-of-life care.

Some young people will have access to specialist paediatric nursing services, home support and residential respite services.

Many of these young people will get NHS continuing care and will be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare for adults.

It is very important that health and social care planning for young people with life limiting conditions begins early. Wherever possible children’s and adult health services should overlap. This is to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible, with new staff gaining experience from existing staff.

Young People with Mental Ill-health Conditions

Health support for young people with mental ill-health comes from the Children and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).

It is very important that health staff working with CAMHS are aware of any ongoing health or social care needs when a young person reaches adulthood. Referrals should be made in good time.

CAMHS should also be fully involved with the education planning process for young people, both with and without an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

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