Clinics and Personnel

Questions and Answers

Q. What does transition mean?

A. Transition is the word used to describe the process of moving from children to adult healthcare services. Transition should be a gradual process of planning and preparing giving you time to talk to your healthcare team about the eventual move.Back to top ^

Q. Why do I have to move to adult services, I am happy with my care now?

A. The staff in the children's services are experts in looking after the health care needs of younger children and teenagers. As you get older, your health care needs will change and the adult team will provide the care that is appropriate to your age. Transferring to adult health care services is a natural part of growing up, becoming more independent and taking more control of managing your condition. Back to top ^

Q. Why do some people move at different ages?

A. The decision about the age at which a young person will transfer to adult health care services can depend on several things, such as, the maturity of the young person, how healthy they are and hospital policy. The final decision on when you will transfer should be made together by you, your parent(s) /guardian(s) and the health care team.Back to top ^

Q. When will I be moving?

A. Many young people move to the adult hospital/clinic between the ages of 16 and 18 years old but it can depend on your individual circumstances. Some young people wait until they have finished their leaving cert, for others, moving to other parts of the country for college can coincide with the move. You should talk with your parent(s)/guardian(s) and members of your health care team about when you can expect to make the move.Back to top ^

Q. Do I have to change hospital?

A. You may have to change hospital as many of the adult services are often located in specialist hospitals. This could mean that the new hospital might be close to where you live or you may have to travel some distance to the new hospital. You should talk to your health care team about the hospital that they plan to transfer you to.Back to top ^

Q. Can I choose which hospital/adult service I move to?

A. For many young people, the decision of where to move to is made by their consultant and can often be limited to hospitals within your catchment area. However, sometimes you may be able to choose which adult service that you will go to. You and your parent(s)/guardian(s) should try to find out which hospitals have clinics that look after young people with your condition and talk to your consultant about your preferences. Very often the decision may come down to location and what is practical for you.Back to top ^

Q. Will the new hospital have all my medical notes?

A. It is not usual for the children's hospital to transfer all your medical notes to the new adult services. It is more usual for a referral letter to be sent to the new clinic. This letter might also include a summary of the events that have occurred in the children’s hospital and a copy of your surgeries, if relevant. In preparation for the transfer, you and your parent(s)/guardian(s) should write a brief medical history including the medications you are taking and the treatments you have had, along with any allergies you have. Back to top ^

Q. Will the doctors in the children’s hospital talk more to me about transition as it gets closer?

A. Your consultant and health care team should talk to you about transition but often this does not happen until you are very close to actually making the move. You and your parent(s)/guardian(s) should start asking your consultant and team about transition now so that you can begin to prepare. Back to top ^

Q. Who is responsible for organising my transition?

A. The staff in the children's hospital are responsible for organising your transition. They will give you some information about the adult service that you will be moving to and should send a referral letter and/or relevant notes to the new clinic. Then you will have to wait for the staff in the adult service to contact you about your first visit. This process could differ depending on which children’s hospital you attend, so you should speak to your team about their plans for your transition.Back to top ^

Q. Can I bring a parent/guardian or a friend with me for my first appointment in the adult clinic?


A. Most young people are a little nervous about attending their first visit at the adult clinic, this is normal. The adult service sees you as being independent and responsible for managing your health. At the first visit, there can be a lot to take in so having a parent/guardian/friend can be helpful. If you want to bring someone along with you for support Support
“Getting used to being the person that is spoken to all the time can feel good but also a little scary too. While it is great to feel like you are being spoken to as an adult, it can also take a while to get used to this.

As with any change it may take time to adjust to this. Some people continue to bring a parent or someone they trust with them to appointments, especially at the start. It can be really helpful to have someone there even just to listen to what is being said. Becoming more independent does not mean you have to do everything on your own. People of all ages often bring a person with them for support. Remember though that you will be the one expected to talk about your health and ask or answer questions. At the end of the day you will be the one responsible for your health.”
you can certainly do this. The health care team will more than likely address all their questions to you so be prepared to answer questions about your condition and experiences in the children's hospital/clinic. Remember, if you have someone with you but want to ask the medical team something personal Personal
“The best advice and thing to remember is that your health care team have heard or seen it all before. While you might feel a little embarrassed talking about certain things, health care professionals are very used to this. Their job is to help you and they want to hear about any issues you may have so that they can do their job. Once you talk to them you feel relieved and happy that you spoke to them. The health care team is there to help you and not to judge you. If you have someone with you for support you can ask them to step out while you discuss personal issues.”
; just ask the person to wait outside the room until you call them.Back to top ^

Q. If I get ill before my first visit to the adult clinic, where should I go?

A. If you become ill when you have been transferred to the adult services but are awaiting your first appointment, you should contact the staff at the children's services you previously attended, as they will have all your medical records and notes. The staff there would be the best people to help you in this situation.Back to top ^

Q. Does it feel strange when you first move to the adult clinic?

A. The thought of moving to a new hospital and new clinic can be a little daunting for you and your parent(s)/guardian(s). From talking to young people who have already transferred to adult services, we know that preparing for the move is very important. Once you get used to the new surroundings and get to know your new team, you should settle into the new routine. Some young people look forward to the move, they want to be seen in a more mature environment and be spoken to directly.Back to top ^

Q. How can I get ready for the transfer?

A. Start preparing for your move by talking to your parent(s)/guardian(s) and your health care team. You could begin to get more involved in looking after your health care, for example, contacting the chemist about your prescriptions and making your own appointments. In this way, you are becoming more independent. If you know of other young people that have already moved to adult services, you could talk to them about their experiences. You could also listen to the 'transition stories' on this website and check out the various information sheets.Back to top ^

Q. Will I be with people my own age or will I be with older adults?

A. Depending on your condition, you may find that when you visit the adult clinic there will be older people there too. Some hospitals run 'young people' clinics on a regular basis. Before you make the move, you should get in touch with the new adult clinic and find out the age range of the people that they see.Back to top ^

Q. Once I transfer to the adult service is it OK for me to get in touch with the children's service/hospital that I was attending?

A. It can often be difficult to break the link with the team that you have been used to in the children's service. Your natural instinct might be to ring them if you have a query. However, once you move on to the adult service, it is important for you (and your parent(s)/guardian(s)) to discuss any worries or questions with the new health care team. You should be given information on how to contact your new adult healthcare team at your first adult clinic appointment.Back to top ^

The Health Care Team

Q. Is it possible to visit the clinic and/or meet the team before my first visit?

A. Some hospitals offer young people the option of having an informal visit prior to their first visit. However, it is advisable to get in touch with the hospital that you will be attending to check out their policy.Back to top ^

Q. Will I see the same people (doctors/nurses/physiotherapists etc.) at each visit?

A. This could vary depending on the hospital that you attend. It can be the case that the consultant and the nurse specialists will attend each clinic. Other team members, such as technicians, secretaries etc., will often remain the same for a long time, so you will get to know them. The junior doctors, however, are likely to change on a regular basis so you will meet some new people at the clinic also.Back to top ^

Q. Will my new doctors take as much care of me as my past doctors did?

A. Your new doctors and nurses are interested in looking after you just as the doctors in the children's hospital were. You need to give yourself some time to get used to the new team and to build a relationship with them. They have your best interests at heart and will take care of you and your health care needs.Back to top ^

Q. How can I help to build a good relationship with the new team?

A. Your team is there to work on your health care with you, so trusting them and building a good relationship with them will be beneficial to both of you. Be open and honest Open and honest
“Your new health care team are there to support you and to enable you to stay well. The best way for them to do this is if you are honest and open with them. Tell them as much about your condition as you can. It is natural for young people to feel that they cannot tell the truth at times when they know they might not be taking care of themselves as they would like to. However, if you are truthful about your medications and/or treatments and how well or unwell you have been feeling, they will be able to provide the best treatment for you.”
and tell your team everything. You are an expert on your health, so the more information you give them the better they can meet your needs. Ask questions Ask questions
“While it is your health care team’s job to ensure that you understand things it is also up to you to let them know if you don’t. It is your health therefore you are the one who needs to understand what is going on so you are better able to make decisions about your health care. Don’t feel embarrassed or afraid to ask your team to explain things in a different way or repeat instructions. In fact, by asking about things it also shows your team that you are taking your health seriously and listening to them.”
, sometimes health care professionals use terms Terms
“It might be the case that your new health care team use medical terms or language that you are not used to. As they use these terms everyday it can become like a second language to them. They won’t know that they sound like ‘mumbo jumbo’ to you and that you might not understand the terms. You should never feel stupid if you don’t know some of the new terms either. You wouldn’t expect someone who didn’t speak English to understand what you were saying; neither would you think they are stupid. Thinking of it like this can often help.”
that you are not familiar with. If there is anything you do not understand don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or other professional to explain it to you. It is their job to help you to understand everything. If there are specific issues, you should write down questions and bring them with you to your clinic appointment.Back to top ^

Q. What if I don’t like the team, what if we don’t get on?

A. Remember that the health care professionals on your team want to look after you but sometimes people just do not 'connect' or get on. You should allow yourself some time to get to know your new team and for them to get to know you. If you still feel that you are not getting on, you should talk to them or someone else that you trust, such as a family member, your GP or friend. Don’t suffer in silence, let someone know and they could speak up on your behalf.Back to top ^

Q. What if my medication is changed and I don’t agree with the changes?

A. The health care team wants to do the best for you and depending on your condition they may need to change your medications. Make sure you ask questions Ask questions
“While it is your health care team’s job to ensure that you understand things it is also up to you to let them know if you don’t. It is your health therefore you are the one who needs to understand what is going on so you are better able to make decisions about your health care. Don’t feel embarrassed or afraid to ask your team to explain things in a different way or repeat instructions. In fact, by asking about things it also shows your team that you are taking your health seriously and listening to them.”
and that you fully understand why your medication/treatment has been changed. If you find that you have difficulties with the new medications/ treatments it is very important to speak to someone on the team or someone else that you trust.Back to top ^

Location/Environment

Q. Where is the new hospital/clinic located?

A. Young people with different medical conditions will be transferred to different hospitals. Many hospitals have websites that provide useful patient information. To find out more about the hospital/clinic that you may be attending you should visit the useful links page on this site where you can get more information about several hospitals.Back to top ^

Q. How long will it take me to get there?

A. Once you know the hospital/clinic that you will be attending, you and your parent(s)/guardian(s) should check out the exact location and then find out your approximate travel time. You can do this by using www.googlemaps.comBack to top ^

Policies, Procedures and Appointments

Q. What clinics are there and where are they on?

A. Different hospitals will run their clinics on different days and at different times. When you receive notice of your first appointment, the day and time of the clinic will be given to you. After that you can keep in touch with the adult service so you will know about any changes to clinic times. Back to top ^

Q. What facilities are in the hospital?

A. Many hospitals have services such as banking facilities, a coffee shop and a newsagent. You can contact the new hospital you will be attending by phone or visit their website to get more information about the specific facilities that they provide.Back to top ^

Q. What will happen and who will I see at my fist visit?

A. Policies and procedures vary from hospital to hospital. It would be usual for you to speak with one of the secretarial team first. They would take your details and then you would see other members of the team, such as, the consultant, the clinic nurse, the physiotherapist, the dietician, the technician and others. The team members that you would see would be different depending on your medical condition. At this first visit, it would also be usual to have some tests carried out; again, these would differ according to your condition.Back to top ^

Q. On a typical day, how long will my visit to the clinic last?

A. This will vary depending on your medical condition, the team members that you will need to see, and the tests that you may have to have carried out. It is always advisable to allow plenty of time, possibly up to two hours, so that you do not feel under pressure to leave the clinic to attend other activities or meet family/or friends.Back to top ^

Q. How often will I need to attend the clinic?

A. This will vary depending on your condition, diagnosis and the hospital that you attend and will usually be decided after your first visit. Back to top ^

Q. How are clinic appointments scheduled?

A. The policy around appointments can vary depending on which hospital or clinic you are attending. It would usually be the case that the adult service would send out an initial appointment to you having received notification of your transition. After that, appointments would either be made at each visit or would be sent to you in the post. Many clinics also send text reminders closer to the appointment date. It is also expected that you would give as much notice as possible if you are rescheduling an appointment. If you are unable to attend an appointment, it is very important to notify the hospital. That way, they can offer the appointment slot to another urgent patient. Also, if you simply don’t turn up to the clinic, your next appointment may not take place for a long time. It is also possible that you may not be offered a new appointment. Back to top ^

Health Information

Q. How do I know when I should contact the team - what are the signs and symptoms to look out for?

A. Looking after your health is very important. Each individual will show different signs and symptoms when they are unwell. You should talk to your health care team about your individual circumstances and learn about the occasions when they expect you to contact the clinic. Links to some useful websites that deal with specific illnesses such as diabetes, heart conditions and cystic fibrosis can be found on this site. Back to top ^

Q. How important is it for me to attend all my clinic appointments now that I am part of the adult service?

A. When young people move to the adult services it is often at a time when other things are happening in their lives, for example, leaving certificate exams, or moving to a new county for work or college. They often can find it difficult to maintain the health care routines that they have been used to. It is really important that you continue to take your medication/treatments and attend all your clinic appointments. If you work with your new health care team they will ensure that you stay well and are able to deal with your changing circumstances.Back to top ^

Q. Where can I find more information about transition?

A. To get as much information as possible about your transition, you should speak to your consultant and health care team. Also, make sure to check out the various resources on this website.Back to top ^

Adult clinic are different


You’re planning your transition from child to adult health care so what can you expect?