For young people and parents/carers

  • What is adolescent transition?

    Adolescent transition is a coordinated and planned process which will involve you, your parents, your treating teams, your GP and others involved in your care.

    Transition is a gradual process which commences when you reach adolescence and is not completed until you are engaged in an adult health service.  

    It is a major milestone. As with other transitions in life, such as moving from high school to further education, training or work, this process should start early and involve discussions with you and your parents. This will help you and your parents to feel more comfortable and prepared with the process of moving on from The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) to adult health care.

    How will transition work for me as a patient of the RCH?

    Transition will help you to know more about your condition, develop skills to manage your own health care needs where appropriate with the support of your parents and to know how to navigate adult healthcare. As you embark on your transition journey, you will be encouraged to contribute to decision-making and learn how to negotiate your care as an adult.

    When referred to the Transition Support Service by one of your RCH treating teams, we will support and guide you and your parents through this process often over several transition clinic visits and in partnership with your treating team/s. You will discuss a range of topics including information about adult service options, self-management tips, health and wellbeing issues and educational/vocational supports. 

    What can I expect when my care is transferred from the RCH?

    The Transition Support Service will also assist you with coordinating your transition and transfer of care from the RCH to adult health and community services.

    Prior to transfer from the RCH, you may also be invited to attend a joint transition clinic with your RCH treating and transition teams and with your new adult health service/s. This is an opportunity to meet your new adult health care team before you move on from care at the RCH. 

    When your care is completed at the RCH, you will be referred to your adult health care team and/or GP.  This transfer process may take some time and occur at different points especially if you see many medical teams. 

    Aims of transition

    There are several aims of adolescent transition. These include:

    • Providing high quality health care which is appropriate for the young person's age, culture and development. It is a flexible process which is responsive and relevant to individual needs.
    • Helping the young person to develop skills in communication, decision-making, assertiveness and self-care and self-advocacy.
    • Improving the young person's independence with their health care as appropriate and to the best of their ability.
    • Providing support and guidance for parents/carers.
    • Maximising the young person's capabilities to live well and achieve their goals regardless of their condition or disability.

    [adapted from McDonagh, 2003, 2005]

    Phases of adolescent transition

    There are four general phases for an effective transition process.

    Introductory/planning phase (12–15 years approximately)

    This phase involves an introduction to the concept of transition, starting the information exchange, and an assessment of your knowledge of your medical condition and how to manage it to the best of your ability.

    Preparation phase (15–18 years approximately)

    This phase involves starting to have a conversation with your doctor, without your parent/carer if appropriate. It also involves developing a transition plan and having a Transition Lead assigned to you (the person who will help manage the transition process).

    Transfer phase (18–19 years)

    This phase involves preparing you for transfer and an information exchange between your health care team/s at the RCH and your new adult care team/s.

    Evaluation (6–18 months post-transfer)

    This phase involves follow-up contact with you, including the opportunity for written evaluation and feedback of the transition experience.


    These links will provide more information for you but if you have any other questions, please contact the Transition Support Service on