Transfer and transition

Young people with cerebral palsy move from child health services to adult health services usually around the age of 18. Transfer is the actual event of moving from child to adult health services. Some young people may transfer before they turn 18 or some may stay in child services a little longer. Some will transfer when they have completed school. The timing of your transfer will depend on several things such as the policy of the service, your wishes, your health and what’s going on in your life. You may also transfer from different services at different times.

Transition is the process of planning and preparing for this move.

Transition is a gradual process. Transition should involve you, your parents, your health professionals, GP and others involved in your care. Moving away from a team of health professionals that you have been with for many years can be scary but hopefully, by getting involved in the transition process you will feel more confident and happier about the move.

The right time to start the process will vary from person to person. You can start the transition process at any age. However starting early can give you more time to develop the knowledge and skills to manage your own healthcare as an adult. A rough guide is to start thinking about it from age 12. See our Checklists for more information about how you might prepare from age 12 onwards.

Making decisions as an adult

As an adult, you can legally make your own decisions. As a child, your parents played a role in your healthcare. After you turn 18, you have overall responsibility for making decisions. You can choose if you want your parents to attend appointments with you. Your parents or other people who support you will not have access to your health information without your consent. This might be daunting for some people, which is why it’s important to prepare for it. Some people also look forward to it because you become more independent and can make your own choices.

Although you will be responsible for managing your healthcare, you don’t have to do this alone even as an adult. Parents, other family, friends, and others who help you make decisions about your health now can still help you as an adult. There may also be other people you want to ask for help at different stages in your life.

Some young people may need ongoing support and help with making decisions as adults. There are a range of supports to help people make decisions when they turn 18, like having a family member, advocate or close friend you trust help you understand the choices available to you and support you to make decisions. It may be helpful to start planning how you would like to be supported to make decisions with your parents or guardians and health professionals. You can find out more on the Decision Support Service website.


>> Go to next page “Stages of transition”