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The NDSS is administered by Diabetes Australia
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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.

Birthday cards and carers letters

  • A birthday card is sent to every person aged between 12 and 20 who is registered with the NDSS every year on their birthday.
  • A series of letters is sent to carers of every person aged between 12 and 18 who is registered with the NDSS every year on their birthday.

Why do we send this information?

  • To remind young people and their carers to continue thinking about diabetes care as the young person matures through adolescence
  • To help maintain the young person’s and their carer’s connection with a diabetes health team as the young person leaves paediatric services and transitions to adult services
  • To encourage the development of greater independence in the young person to manage their diabetes
  • To provide carers with information on how to encourage independence in the young person and how to support their engagement with their diabetes health team as they transition.

In 2013, a survey was conducted among young people aged 12–20 years with diabetes, their carers and health professionals in this area. The aim of this survey was to assess the value of the birthday card and letter program and to explore how it may be improved. Thank you to all those who took part in this survey.

The results are available at reports.

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.

Your local diabetes organisation can provide you with details of peer support groups for young people in your state.

Talk to someone

Parent line contact numbers:

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