Helping kids transition to adult care
When your child is comfortable and familiar with their Children’s Mercy care team, the thought of leaving the doctors and nurses they’ve known for several years can be overwhelming. To make sure that they’re set up for success, the dialysis and transplant patients we care for go through our transition to adulthood program.
We work one-on-one with you and your adolescent child to develop an individualized transition plan that meets your child’s needs. We also believe the educational program shouldn’t stop when your child transfers to adult care. A key part of our program is regularly involving adult providers in our community as part of the process.
Educating your child
There’s a lot of information that your child will need to learn about themselves before they move to adult care. We make sure that they’re ready for the new environment before they get there.
We use teen-friendly teaching methods to prepare your child to:
Order their own medications
Stick to their medication schedule
Understand their underlying kidney disorder
Understand their insurance
Know how to stay healthy and avoid potential complications in the future
Starting the process early
We begin to educate our patients and their families within the transition program starting at age 12. For older patients who come to our dialysis and transplant program during later adolescence, we accelerate their teaching and prioritize the key information they need to know. In this way, our patients have received the education they need to prepare them for transfer to their adult doctor before their 22nd birthday.
Ensuring successful transitions
Collaboration between the Children’s Mercy team and adult providers in the community is essential to a successful transition program. Our team, which includes doctors, nurses, dieticians, social workers, child life, a pharmacist and psychologists, regularly holds workshops with adult providers to discuss how we can best prepare our patients for a successful transfer of care.
What more can we do? We will soon be holding joint transition clinics in which pediatric and adult nephrology providers will meet with your child together, before the transfer to adult care occurs. This visit will allow your child to become familiar with their adult providers, so that when they do eventually transfer, the process will be as seamless as possible.