When it is time for a child to move from paediatric to adult healthcare services.
Even when our child is just a baby it is important, as parents, to remember that our job is to prepare our children for the journey ahead. You can use the tips and tools found on this website to help you engage early on with your child and help them to become actively involved. By involving your child in their medical care at an early stage you can walk the journey together. You may be surprised at how interested and keen your child is to understand it all.
Usually, the paediatric team, often lead by a paediatric endocrinologist (or “adolescent” team) will oversee care for your child until the teenage years and when puberty is complete. A child will then move into adult services, where an adult MDT will support their longer-term health and care needs.
The NHS in the UK refers to this change of health care providers as transition. It just means a slow hand over of care from one group of staff to another. The change for you and your (older) child is to make new relationships, say goodbye to the doctors whom you have known since your child was a baby and to learn to trust the new team. The main difference is that the care team will treat your child as an autonomous individual and may not be as concerned with the wider family. They may know, for example that you give your growing up child lifts to hospital, but they may not expect you to be part of the whole appointment. All discussions about treatment will be with the young person.
Some young people go to the hospital for the first time during the secondary school years adolescence might be seen in an adolescent or Paediatric & Adolescent Service. Doctors who usually see adults may then lead their care. At the time of diagnosis some other people with differences of sex development may be seen in a service for adults, including young adults. Adult services sometimes have smaller teams than in paediatric care and may offer less frequent appointments. Some services invite young people back once a year for check ups but others might say, “Just let your GP know if there are any problems and I’ll see you again”.
The dsdteens website can help you talk about puberty, growing up, schools and friends and relationships. It also has a dedicated section about your child taking charge of their care.