Growing out of the paediatric rheumatology clinic: Time to transition
Transition is a term used to describe the change from paediatric rheumatology care to adult rheumatology care. This usually happens around the time of a teenager's 18 th
birthday, or when she is leaving secondary school. As she becomes a young adult, she will outgrow the expertise of a children’s hospital. At this time, she will need to find a health care provider who can care for her unique adult needs. This is especially important if she has a chronic condition like JIA, because she will need ongoing treatment through her adult life.
A teenager's paediatric rheumatology team will begin talking about ‘transition’ during her early teenage years. She will soon be completely responsible for her health care. The paediatric rheumatology team will teach her how to successfully manage her care when she moves on.
Some young people with JIA worry about leaving their paediatric health care team. Others are excited and look forward to a change. Both reactions are normal. Whichever way a teenager feels, being well prepared and knowing what to expect from the adult system can help make the move a smooth one.
Differences between paediatric and adult health centres
There are a few differences between paediatric and adult health centres. A teenager will need to be more independent as she gets older. She will need to depend less on her parents and will do more things on her own. She should know about her medical condition and be able to explain it to doctors and nurses. She should also be able to recognize when she needs medical help, organize her medications, and arrange medical appointments.