Young People

Moving to the Adult Healthcare System

As you grow up, you’re going to be making some big moves, including transitioning into the adult healthcare system. We know it can feel daunting, but don’t stress – we’ve got your back! In this section, we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of this transition, making sure you’re fully prepared for this exciting next step in your healthcare journey. Let’s navigate this together!

What is Transition?

Transition is the process of getting ready to move to the adult health care system. During transition, you start developing the skills you will need to manage your life and health care more independently. The transfer from the children’s to the adult health system generally occurs when you turn 18 years old.

Why do I need to transition?

The team that treated you in your childhood specialise in treating children. When you become an adult, it is best that you see doctors who are experts in treating adults. They can help you address some of the new questions and needs you may have as an adult. It’s okay to feel sad when leaving your current team. Change can feel scary at first, but this change is an important part of growing up. Remember that it gets easier as you get used to it.


How do I move to the adult system?

Some hospitals run programs that can help you develop your skills and knowledge. Transition to the adult system doesn’t happen overnight. New responsibilities are introduced slowly. It’s a gradual process broken up into stages.

How do I move to the adult system?

One of the key differences is that you will be in control of making decisions, not your parents. Like all changes in life, it can take a bit of getting used to. You may want to start practicing some skills before you transfer to the adult system.

Your parents may have made a lot of decisions for you when you were younger. As you become a teenager and young adult, you will get the opportunity to start making more decisions for yourself. This requires a new set of skills, which you will develop over time.

Some skills include:

  • Keeping track of your medical records and information
  • Spending time alone with your doctor, talking to them and asking them questions
  • Taking responsibility for taking your own medications and renewing your prescriptions
  • Booking your own appointments

Key Phases of Transition

Introductory Phase
(12-15 years)

Introducing you to transition. You will start learning more about your condition and how to manage it to he best of your ability.

This is a good time to start looking at your health care skills to see where you are up to.

Health Skills Checklist

This checklist is for you to fill in with your parents or health care team. It will help you identify what you know and be aware of any gaps in knowledge or skills that you will need to transfer smoothly to adult health services.

Preparation Phase
(15-18 years)

Practicing the tasks you will do on your own as an adult. You will learn about patient confidentiality and may start having time on your own with doctors.

This could include:

  • Learning how to take your own medications
  • Finding a doctor (GP) that you can trust and spending some time alone with them in appointments
  • Booking your own appointments, learning about Medicare, health insurance and how to pay for appointments

Transition Readiness Checklist

This checklist is for you to fill in with your parents or health care team. It will help you identify what you know and be aware of any gaps in knowledge or skills so that you can transfer smoothly to the adult hospital.

Transfer Phase
(18-19 years)

Assessing how ready you are and addressing any concerns you might have. You will meet your new team and your patient information will transfer across to them. You will be taking charge of your health care information.

Health Skills Checklist

Draft a self-referral letter to acquaint your new adult health care team with essential details about your history, current health status, and relevant information, providing a clear understanding of your health needs and preferences.

Upbeat App

UpBeat is designed for young people who are starting to manage their lives and health care more independently.

The key features of UpBeat are:

  • Medical Summary – Organise your key health information, including medication details, care team contacts and appointment notes
  • Documents – Store all your important files in one place. Take photos of letters, referrals, test results or forms and store it in UpBeat for safe-keeping
  • InfoHub – Learn about your condition, what happens during transition and how to find support services and link up with peer networks

How Is My Mental Health Related To My Heart?

Growing up with a heart condition, some of the things you experience may have been unique to the people around you. You may have thought or felt some of the things on this page before. You are not alone. There are over 72,000 people living with childhood heart conditions in Australia. Mental health, just like our physical health, is something we all need to work at and look after. There are lots of resources and support networks out there to help with this. We have listed lots of support resources at the back of this booklet.


Caitlin Cranitch

To be able be responsible for myself and my own appointments, I've actually found really empowering. I've really loved the autonomy that comes with it.

Kennedy Cherrington

Independence is a skill that I've developed over a couple of years and I'm pretty good at it right now.

Support Resources

Useful numbers and websites

There is a lot of support available to help you on your journey to independence and your transition to the adult health care system.

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