In this section, you will find the answers to the key questions that were raised by young people and their parent(s)/guardian(s).

The FAQs have been organised into the five categories listed below:

About Transition

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.
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.

The decision about the age at which a young person will transfer to adult health care services can depend on several things, such as 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.

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.
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.
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.
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.

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.

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.
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 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; just ask the person to wait outside the room until you call them.
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.

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.

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.

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 if they have a clinic for young people.

It can often be difficult to break the relationship 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 your new health care team. You should be given information on how to contact your new adult healthcare team at your first adult clinic appointment.

My Healthcare Team

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.
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.
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.
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 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, sometimes health care professionals use terms 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.
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.
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 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.

My New Hospital or Clinic

Young people with different medical conditions will be transferred to different hospitals. Many hospitals have websites that provide useful patient information. You should ask your current health care detail for information about which hospital/clinic you will be transferred to.

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 Google Maps

My Appointment

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.
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.
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.
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.

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

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.

My Health

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.
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.

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.