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Information for carers about transition

What does transition in health care mean?

Transition is the transfer from paediatric (child) health care to adult health care. It can happen anytime between the ages of 12 and 20 and sometimes as late as in the 20s.

This process can take years, it all depends on your child’s individual circumstances and who their health care providers are.

Why is it important?

Successful transition is very important for the long-term well-being of young adults living with a chronic condition. The transition of diabetes care usually happens at the same time as many other developmental and lifestyle changes and should be regarded as just one of the many life transitions a young adult makes—like moving out of home or moving from school to Uni or TAFE.

Sometimes young adults don’t like where they have been transferred to or feel that they do not receive enough support during the transition process. As a result, they drop out of the health care system, only to return with serious and often preventable diabetes-related complications. Connection, education and information are key ingredients to minimising the risk of long-term diabetes-related complications.

Things that carers may be dealing with at this time

Letting go

During a young person’s transition to adult health care, a carer is often faced with the need to strike a delicate balance—between the level of responsibility the young person starts to take during their teenage years with their own needs, and the desire to help and support the person. This balance between offering enough support and, at the same time, enough freedom to learn, sometimes results in tension and anxiety in the relationship, which can be difficult to work through.

It is common to feel confused about how to handle these changing needs. The level of guidance and freedom that young people may need from their support network will vary and fluctuate. Communication is the key to working through these changes. For more information and guidance, talk to a paediatric or adult diabetes health service.

What do I do when things feel out of control?

If you, or a young person you know, lives with diabetes and needs help, you are not alone. Help and support are always available.

Peer support groups and networks connect people with diabetes so they can share ideas, experiences and thoughts. Connecting with others who face challenges can help you feel less alone or helpless. Mutual support and education go a long way towards improving quality of life.

Read more about peer support in our fact sheets:

Find out more about peer support.

Find and register for upcoming NDSS support programs. You can also call the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 or contact your local diabetes organisation.

Talk to someone

Parentline contact numbers:

Parentline ACT  6287 3833
Parentline Vic 13 22 89
Parentline NSW 1300 1300 52
Parentline NT & Qld  1300 30 1300
Parentline SA  1300 364 100
Parentline WA  1800 654 432

Diabetes Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. We recognise their connection to land, waters, winds and culture. We pay the upmost respect to them, their cultures and to their Elders, past and present. We are committed to improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by diabetes and those at risk.

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