How Can You Help Your Youth Transition to Adult Healthcare?
People depending on healthcare throughout their life will at some point face the challenges that come with moving from paediatric healthcare to adult healthcare. Unfortunately, many people get lost in this transition. This can thankfully be avoided, as most transition problems are preventable.
What are the consequences of a poorly supported transition?
For some youths or young adults, their parents are the sole reason they’re connected to the health system, following up on appointments with doctors, physiotherapists, speech therapist and other services.
Professionals are well aware of this. As more youth with chronic diseases survive into adulthood, professionals have gained an increased awareness of what the transition from paediatric healthcare to adult healthcare entails. It’s an important area to address for all parties; how the person in question experiences this transition can greatly affect their quality of life as an adult. Research shows that an unplanned or poorly supported transition to adult care, can lead to:
- Poor health outcomes
- Costly hospitalizations
- An inequity of healthcare services
- Missed school or work
- Higher rates of health-risk behaviours
How you can secure a comfortable transition
There are several things you can do to secure a comfortable transition. One is starting preparations early. As a matter of fact, experts recommend that teenagers engage in self-care already at the age of 14. From there, they should gradually be given more responsibility for their own health as they age. Healthcare providers should also embrace this focus, and continuously educate and empower both teens and parents in the process.
Besides getting guidance from healthcare professionals, parents can also find support and help through various online resources. CanChild has developed Youth KIT, an organizational tool for parents caring for children with disabilities. The tool can be used to assist youths in organising their own information as they make the transition into adulthood. CanChild have also recently developed an app called MyTransition, which aims to help youths feel more ready for the transition into adult healthcare. In MyTransition, users can track their progress, keep contacts in one place, and improve communication with their healthcare team. The app also saves your medical history and other important information, such as your medications.
If you want more information on the topic, we recommend checking out CanChild’s five tips for transitioning to an adult doctor.
Check out how Shane switched to an adult doctor underneath (Source: CanChild)
Nguyen, T., Henderson, D., Stewart, D., Hlyva, O., Punthakee Z. & Gorter J.W. (2016) You never transition alone! Exploring the experieces of youth with chronic health conditions, parents and healthcare providers on self-management. Child: Care, Health and Development, 42, 4, 464-472.
Gorter, J.W., Stewart, D. & Woodbury-Smith, M. (2011) Youth in transition: care, health and development. Child: Care, Health and Development, 37, 757-763.
Notes from presentation of Gorter, J.W. at CP-fagdag Oslo 18.04.18