As a young person with a rheumatologic condition you’re likely to face some challenges during adolescence. You’ll have to navigate things like puberty, emerging identity, increasing influence of friends and your changing role within your family.
In addition, there may be some specific challenges related to your chronic condition, like increasing responsibility in managing your health, leaving the paediatric health teams you know so well, and moving into an adult healthcare environment.
The term ‘transition’ refers to the gradual process of preparing a young person to move into adult health care services once they are too old for the children’s hospital. Your paediatric health team usually start this process at about 14 years to give you and your family/carer time to strengthen links with your GP, think about what type of care might be needed in the future, and to develop confidence in navigating the health system independently.
NSW has three transition services:
- Trapeze, the transition support service of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network (SCHN).
- Hunter New England Local Health District Rheumatology Transition Program.
- Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) Transition Care Network, who work with young people from all over NSW.
Your rheumatology team can refer you to these services, or if you are 14 years or older, you can refer yourself.
All services have transition coordinators, who can help young people and their carers by:
- supporting you in becoming independent in managing your illness
- connecting you to appropriate adult health services
- accompanying you to the first adult clinic appointments if required
- ensuring a comprehensive handover is provided to the new clinician
- providing information about adult health services, finances, post school options etc.
- keeping contact with you to make sure you have all the support and information you need
- assisting your health team by investigating options for adult health services
- providing factsheets and checklists to help you prepare for transition.