Sydney-based paediatric rheumatologists run a monthly clinic for paediatric and adolescent patients with rheumatological conditions. These clinics operate in the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, for patients under 13 years old, and John Hunter Hospital for patients over 13 years of age. We are fortunate to have both of these facilities in the same building, and work closely together to ensure patients move from paediatric to adolescence is smooth and stress-free.

Young people transition to the Adolescent and Young Adult with Rheumatic Disease (AYARD) clinic from 13 years and continue to see their paediatric physician. This clinic operates in the adult clinic area at the John Hunter Hospital. Introduction and familiarisation with the adult rheumatology team occurs through regular combined consultations with both paediatric and adult teams.

A formal coordinated transition process will also commence in the early teenage years. This process continues until the patient is ready to transfer to adult services. During this period patients and carers will move through three transition phases, aimed to inform and prepare them for adult health services. Patient readiness will be determined through questionnaires and skills checklists. With the help of both paediatric and adult rheumatology teams, a formal transition plan will be developed to help identify issues and set goals to work on. The patient will be encouraged to play an active role throughout this process.

We aim to complete transition patients to an ‘adult’ rheumatologist at a time when they are medically stable and after the Higher School Certificate exams.

For more information, email Fiona Niddrie, Rheumatology Clinical Nurse Consultant