Kids Health Info

Transition to adult health services

  • Transition is the planned move of a patient's care from a paediatric to an adult health care provider. It usually occurs between 16 and 19 years of age and involves careful preparation of the patient and the family. At the time of transfer to the adult setting a summary of the medical history is transferred to the adult setting.

    Age considerations for transition

    Transition should occur between 16-19 years of age avoiding the final school year (if applicable). It is important to note that patients undergoing transition are not considered fully discharged from the care of RCH until after their first appointment at the adult facility. It means that should your child become unwell and require an emergency visit while undergoing transition, you should still come to the RCH.

    How do we prepare for transition as a family?

    What can we (parents and carers) do to help the young person with transition?

    It is important to remember that Transition from paediatric to adult health services is a natural step in your child's life, just like leaving school and moving to tertiary education or employment.   As much as possible, start to share some responsibility with your child for his or her own health care. Explain what medication is required, when and how much; how to fill prescriptions and how to recognize symptoms of being unwell. Refer to the Health Care Skills Checklist as a guide and ask questions. Your RCH treating team will be happy to help.Once transferred to the adult facility allow your son or daughter to take some time to settle in to the new hospital as it takes time to develop new relationships with their new health professionals.

    Special considerations

    Palliative patients- whether or not these patients are transferred to adult care is decided on an individual basis in consultation with the patient and family using compassion and common sense as the guiding principles.

    What should I expect?

    Transition is a step necessary to achieve the best outcomes possible for patients and their families in areas of health, independency and adulthood. Adult hospitals are likely to differ from paediatric hospitals in their approach to patient care. There is an expectation that your child will become an active participant in the management of his or her own health care. Ensure you maintain your child's up to date health summary either electronically or paper based so you dont need to repeat everything each time you meet a new doctor. Whilst you may have seen the same group of doctors at the paediatric hospital, in the adult public system you are likely to change the doctor that you see on a regular basis.  Ask your RCH treating team any question you have in relation to transition and ensure you receive a summary of your health care over the time that you have been an RCH patient. A copy of this should also be sent to your new doctor and your GP


    The RCH remains your main point of contact until after your first appointment at the adult hospital.

    Key points to remember

    • Transition is a process and should occur in a well managed, coordinated manner.
    • Transition should not occur during VCE year or when your child is particularly unwell
    • A patient is not considered transferred until after the first appointment at the adult hospital and until then should be attending the RCH for appointments and emergency visits

    More information

    Individual information

    Name of your family doctor:



    Developed by RCH Transition. First published Sept 07.

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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.