Parents, Are You Ready?

Well on Your Way

Getting Ready

There are two types of youth with health conditions who transfer to adult healthcare:

  • Youth who will still be dependent as adults and need ongoing support with decision-making
  • Youth who are working towards independence, and who will be able to make their own decisions as adults

This website has information for parents or caregivers of both types of youth. How independent your child is or will be and whether they can make their own decisions or not, does not matter.

For parents of children who will be able to make their own decisions as adults, it is time to think about and prepare for how your role will change when your child turns 18. As a parent, you have been responsible for making appointments, filling prescriptions, and talking to your child's healthcare team for many years now. Once your child turns 18, this will change. Adult clinics will talk to your child at clinic appointments. You will not have access to your child’s health information without their consent, and your child will be asked about their health information and to make medical decisions. This can be a challenging time for parents. This is why it is important to work with your child now, so both of you are ready for the changes that will come when your child is expected to manage their health, advocate for themselves, and talk to healthcare providers.

If you know your child won’t be able to make their own decisions as an adult, start by watching this video to learn about transition planning for youth with disabilities.

Listen to these parent stories about the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare:

Building a Plan

The Transition 101 section of this website, the Transition Guideline for Independent Youth and Transition Readiness Checklist will help you plan, set goals, and keep track of your progress.

If your child will still be dependent as an adult, the Transition 101 section has a checklist and guideline designed just for you.

Differences between Pediatric and Adult Care

When getting ready for adult healthcare, it helps to understand the differences between pediatric and adult care.

Pediatric care is for patients from birth to 18 years of age. It is family-centered rather than patient-centered, and there are often more allied health supports available in pediatric care (e.g. physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and speech language pathologists).

In pediatric care:

  • Healthcare providers usually ask parents questions and look to them for answers.
  • Appointments are typically booked by parents, and they normally attend appointments with their children.
  • Healthcare providers frequently share patient’s health information with their parents.

In adult care:

  • Healthcare providers ask questions of the patient not their parents, and patients are expected to answer.
  • Patients call to book their own appointments, and parents can only attend appointments with their child’s permission.
  • No health information is shared with parents without the patient’s written consent.
  • If appointments are missed, there may be no follow-up, or patients may be charged a fee, or they may be discharged from care.