In this section
Transition is a coordinated, gradual process involving the patient, their parents or carers, all health care teams at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Melbourne and adult services including general practitioners (GPs) and community supports and services.
Moving from the RCH to adult health and community services is a major milestone. As with other transitions in life, such as moving from primary to high school, it should be planned well in advance. This is achieved in close consultation with the patient and family, and all relevant services, resulting in a fearless, tearless transition!
Transitioning from paediatric care may contain many unknowns, and for young people with an Intellectual Disability (ID) and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with mental health or behavioural concerns, there are additional considerations to plan for.
At the RCH, we have developed a model of care to assist you and your teenager through the transition process. This was designed following extensive information provided by other parents/carers and professionals working in this field, including GPs.
When your teenager is 12 years old, you will start having discussions with your paediatrician at the RCH about transition, to ensure that you are engaged with the right services in the community including a GP. Annual or more frequent visits are recommended with your GP as this will be critical to long term care.
When your teenager is 15 years old, you will be scheduled to meet with the RCH Transition Support Service, in conjunction with another appointment that you may have at the RCH or at an alternative time that best suits you. At this session, your teenager’s transition needs will be discussed (including planning for shared care with visits alternating between your RCH Paediatrician and GP) and information will be provided about transfer/service options, and if required, assistance linking into additional services. Review appointments and follow up with the RCH Transition Support Service will occur as needed or requested.
Shared Care: Your RCH Paediatrician and your GP will work closely together to co-manage the care of your teenager from 15 years of age, with alternate visits encouraged between your RCH Paediatrician and your GP. This will enable your GP to understand your teenager’s needs, including medication and behaviour management, in conjunction with you and your RCH Paediatrician. Your GP is also well placed to ensure that appropriate referrals are made to other services or supports required in your local community. Please see Shared Care template at the back of this booklet.
When your teenager approaches 18 years of age, your RCH Paediatrician will ensure that all relevant services are in place in the community to support continued care.
The RCH Transition Support Service is available to assist with finalising and coordinating your teenager’s transfer to appropriate adult services.
Parents and carers play a significant role in preparing their teenager for the future. Developing a transition plan and ensuring early engagement with appropriate services within paediatric and adult services (as determined with your RCH team/s or GP) and within the community, is important.
Depending on your teenager’s capacity and ability, it may be appropriate to support him/her with increased participation in their personal care needs and/or with new care providers in the community.
There are a range of useful resources to assist young people with ID and/or ASD and their parents/carers. Some of these are listed within the ‘Resources’ section of this booklet.
Here is what one parent had to say about enabling independence in their teenager with ASD:
"Letting go has remained the hardest of battles because I must fight against my own fears of the ‘what if’s’. Step one is I must be able to get inside his head and find out what he really wants. Step two is I must be willing to set aside my own fears in order to give him his freedom’."
A general practitioner is also known as a GP, a local doctor or a family doctor. GPs specialise in general practice medicine and care for many different health problems in all age groups. Some GPs have extra qualifications in specialised medicine. It is important to have your own GP who knows you and has access to your complete medical history to provide you and your family with the best care.
A regular GP can:
Ask yourself the following questions when you visit the GP:
Ask when you book if the practice ‘bulk bills’. If you are bulk billed there is no cost to you. If the practice does not bulk bill costs can vary, depending on the practice and length of consultation.
Be prepared to discuss your concerns openly and honestly. Write down anything that is important or that you might forget. Ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand.
Ask your GP if your child would be eligible for a Chronic Care Management Plan. This can help to alleviate additional costs associated with care.
Information and resources to assist with including guides and checklists decision making and independent living. Useful information for parents and carers too.
Provides workbooks that assist with setting goals, a guide for making big decisions on where to live and where to work.
Practical guide to transitioning from school and provides useful state based contacts. There is a workbook for the teenager and the parent/carer.
Assists people with intellectual disability to make good choices using visuals strategies.
Shared care between your GP and your paediatrician