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Transitioning into adult diabetes clinics

When you get older you’ll move into either adult or young adult care from child care, most healthcare professionals call this transition.

Transitioning to an adult diabetes clinic is all about making sure you have all the skills you need to manage your diabetes independently. This is important because as you grow up, adult care will suit you better. Although it can sometimes be quite confusing and a bit difficult sometimes.

When will I move into adult services?

There isn’t a specific age that you will move into adult care.

The age you move will depend on a few things like where you live, the setup of your local services, and if you and your healthcare team feel like you’re ready.

Make sure you talk to your current healthcare team about moving up into adult care, especially if you’re not that confident about the change yet.

What is different about adult clinics?

There are a few things that will be different when you start in the adult clinic. The biggest change you might notice is that your new healthcare team will start talking to you directly – not to your parents – about your diabetes, the care you’re getting, and different treatments.

Getting used to adult care might take you a while which is normal. Other changes you might notice are:

  • Time, location and the amount of appointments you have will change. Most people in adult care have one appointment a year, although if you're in a young adult service this might be two or three.
  • Doctors, nurses and reception staff will change as you change teams.
  • Your targets, like your HbA1c, might change
  • There’ll be a mixture of people at the hospital and some might have diabetes complications.
  • Your emergency contact for help between appointments will be different. Your new team will go through this information with you.

What should my transition look like?

Everyone that helps you look after your diabetes should be working together to make sure you have the best support possible. This shouldn’t change when you move into adult care, or a young adult clinic if your area runs a scheme like this.

It’s really important that when you move into adult care that your new and current diabetes team treat you as an individual. This means they should make sure your needs are met and that they can be flexible where possible if you’re struggling.

Don’t be afraid to ask your new team for help if you need it. They’re there to help you find a way to manage your diabetes that works for you.

Having more control over your diabetes can be scary, especially if your parents have helped you a lot. Taking this responsibility doesn’t mean that you have to do it without help from your parents or friends though, so it’s normal if you still need their support.

Preparing to transition into an adult diabetes clinic

Looking after your diabetes will vary from person to person because nobody’s the same.

Think about and perhaps talk to your parents about the parts of your type 1 diabetes management you don’t feel as confident about and figure out if there’s something you don’t really understand. This could be anything from carb counting or doing correction doses on your own. Once you know the things you’re not sure about, go over these topics with your healthcare team.

Remember that moving into adult care, doesn’t mean you can’t get help from your parents or friends. You can bring them to your adult appointments, just like you did before if you need their support.

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