Transition: Moving to Adult Care

Children’s Services Colchester Hospital

Children’s Ward Tel: 01206 746208 or 746209

Children’s Assessment Unit Tel: 01206 746200 

Children’s Transition nurse specialist Tel: 01206 746417


This leaflet explains about the transition of care from children’s to adult services and the process we follow at this hospital. The aim of transition is to make your move to adult services as smooth as possible.

More information

As you are getting older, you will be thinking more about the future. You may have heard people talking about ‘transition’. In healthcare, we use the term ‘transition’ to describe the process of planning, preparing and moving from children’s healthcare to adult healthcare. Transition is a gradual process of change, which gives you and your parent/carer time to ensure that you are prepared and feel ready to move to adult healthcare. Usually the transition process begins at least one year before the young person is transferred to adult services.

The exact timing of transition from children’s to adult services varies from young person to young person. The transition process will usually begin after your fourteenth birthday.

Often you will also be experiencing other transitions at a similar time, such as moving from secondary school to sixth form college.

Every young person will have an allocated member of staff who is responsible for organising their transition. He or she will be responsible for ensuring that both you and your parent/carer are supported throughout the process and receive all the preparation needed to feel ready to move to adult services.

Usually your clinical nurse specialist or the transition nurse will take on this role, although other members of your team may also be involved in the process.

You can discuss any queries or concerns with your healthcare team.

  • After your sixteenth you will no longer have the open access to the children’s ward or children’s assessment unit for inpatient care.
  • The same rules apply with regards to sickness and being unwell, you need to seek medical advice from your GP or the Emergency Department. Do not leave it too long or you are at risk of becoming seriously unwell.
  • If you need to be admitted to hospital after your sixteenth birthday it will be on to an adult ward.


Every young person will have a written ‘transition plan’ which outlines the timing of key phases of the transition process, the expected time for the eventual transfer and details of any specific concerns, queries or requirements you may have in relation to your move to adult services.

Over time you will be given information about the adult service, contact details of its staff, how the service is organised and how adult services differ from children’s services.

It is important that you are comfortable with the transition and the new service.

We know that coming up to a move to adult care can be a worrying time in a young person’s life.

You will be expected to take more responsibility for things like medicines and treatments. It can take time for you to get used to taking on this responsibility but it is important that you have all the skills necessary to feel comfortable in the adult healthcare service.

Preparing you during transition can also be difficult for your parents/ carers as they need to get used to handing over this responsibility to you.

In children’s services parents/ carers are given the responsibility for maintaining your healthcare, communicating with healthcare professionals and making important decisions.

In adult services these responsibilities are given to you rather than your parents/carers. However, they will still be able to give you supportive advice.

Parents/carers can support young people in gradually developing independence and becoming more involved in their healthcare.

Topics for you and your parents/carers to think about and discuss might include: 

  • learning the names of your regular medicines, why you need them, how much to take and how often 
  • asking and answering questions about your health and treatments 
  • seeing your doctor or nurse on your own for part of your clinic appointments or consultations 
  • staying overnight in hospital without your parents/carers 
  • keeping track of your hospital appointments 
  • the ways in which children’s services can help you to feel ready for your move to adult services.

There might be some aspects of growing up with a long- term medical condition that may not have been discussed with you. For example, you may have some questions about how your condition might affect your adult life in relation to areas like career choices, benefits, relationships or family planning.

It is a good idea for you to discuss these things with your transition team as they will be able to advise you or put you in contact with appropriate organisations that can help.

Initially young people/parents/carers may find it difficult to break contact with children’s services once transition has happened. It is important for your continuing health that you discuss any concerns with the adult team. The new team should be your first point of contact in all matters relating to your health.

Until your final transfer to adult services has taken place, please do not hesitate to contact the children’s transition nurse specialist – on the number on the front of this leaflet – for further information, advice or answers to any questions you may have.

Alternatively, the Trust has a Learning Disabilities specialist nurse who can help support you or your parents/carers after your move to adult healthcare.

You can call them on 01206 742160 or 07774 889067.

We value your feedback. Please help us improve our services by answering a simple question, in our online survey – “Overall, how was your experience of our services?” This survey is known as “The Friends and Family Test”.

You can follow this link: matter/friends-and-family-test/ Thank you very much.