Moving to adult care

If you’re a teenager with Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, or another from of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) then an important milestone for you will be your transition to adult care. 

You might be feeling nervous about this and that’s totally normal. But we know that it can help to find out more about what’s involved and how you can get ready for the change.

By now you might have heard your doctors and nurses say the word transition. They’ve probably already explained that it means moving from the children’s to the adult IBD team. This may be in the same hospital, or sometimes in a different one. This often happens around the age of 16 and 18, but it can sometimes be earlier or later.

Transition should be a gradual process that your IBD team help you prepare for, but eventually you’ll have your appointments, tests and treatments in an adult department. The idea is that as you’re getting older you’ll gradually get used to doing more for yourself.

You may also hear the word ‘transfer’ – this is less of a gradual process, and it just means that your care will be handed over to the adult IBD team. But transfer can also work well, especially when it’s planned carefully. So, if your care is being transferred you can still use this guide to make the best of the change to the adult IBD team.

How do you feel about transition?

I felt a bit out of place in the kid’s clinic. I felt like I am this 17 year old giant compared to them, with a beard and everything.

Andy, 17
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2015

Maybe like Andy, it feels like the right time to make the move, maybe you’re worried, or maybe you don’t mind either way. All these feelings are normal. There’s more in our booklet about how you can get ready for the move and how to cope if it’s making you feel stressed.

Getting ready

It always helps to be prepared. So the booklet covers ways you can get more confident – from learning more about your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to ways to gradually increase your independence. There’s also ideas for questions you can ask your IBD team.

Knowledge is power

We know that the unknown can be a bit daunting. That’s why the booklet includes reassuring information about what’s it’s like to have your treatment and care in the adult IBD team. Including who’ll be in your new team, what the clinic and appointments might be like, as well as more about having an endoscopy and staying on an adult ward.

Find more in-depth information in our new Transition: Moving to Adult Care booklet