Transitioning to adult care: Starting early and finishing strong

When teenagers with chronic illnesses turn 18, they graduate from pediatric to adult care. For our patients, it means they will no longer be followed at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Transitioning to adult care: one step at a time

Many young people and their families have been coming to the Children’s for years and are very familiar with how things are done. A lot of them know their nurses, doctors and other members of their healthcare team very well. Moving on to adult care can be challenging, and to help our patients get ready, we guide them through a variety of stages called transition, which sometimes lasts several years.

There is not one standard process for transition and currently, each health care team at the Children’s handles transition preparation a little bit differently. 

We are working on developing a series of guided steps and information packages that can be used by patients throughout the hospital. They include things called Transition Preparation Tools, a Medical Passport and Transfer Readiness Checklists. These have all been created to help our patients understand their illness well in preparation for meeting the people who will help them manage their health in the future. We want our patients to become comfortable asking questions, expressing concerns and taking care of their everyday needs, and be able to talk easily to their new doctors and nurses.

Helping you make the first steps

Leading up to a patient’s transition, our health care teams help the patient learn about their new hospital and the health care providers who work there. We’ll also help them book their first appointments with their new team, and help family members prepare for the transition.

1. Information session: Transition from pediatric to adult health care for young adults who have an intellectual impairment

Information evenings for parents of young adults who have an intellectual impairment are held twice yearly and announced on the MCH Twitter feed and on this webpage. Guest speakers include an attorney, a notary and a financial advisor, as well as a parent who has lived through the transition experience. Two McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) nurses describe health care delivery in the pediatric and adult settings. A representative from WIAIH (West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped), a community organization which provides services throughout the island of Montreal describes the many services offered by their organization.

Please email dale.macdonald@muhc.mcgill.ca if you want to be notified about the next session. Please consult our information pamphlet for additional information. 

2. Living a healthy life with chronic conditions: the MUHC's chronic disease self-management program (My Tool Box)

My Tool Box is a free 6-week program for individuals living with chronic disease and their loved ones. The program is designed to teach people the skills they need to live well with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, cancer, MS, muscular dystrophy, stroke, hypertension and chronic pain. These fun, practical and interactive workshops emphasize coping strategies and practical skills. Register for the sessions here.

3. Registering on a waiting list for a family doctor

It is very important that your child have a family doctor. Your child can register here as soon as they are 14 years old.