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NC Department of Health and Human Services
Women's and Children's Health Home
N.C. Public Health Home

Transitioning Children with Special Health Care Needs from Pediatric to Adult Care

Facts You Need to Know

Youth with disabilities become adults with disabilities. If you are a youth with disabilities, or the parent of a youth, changing from pediatric health care to adult health care can be a challenge.

Care needs to be coordinated and comprehensive. It should occur within a medical home.

Successful health care transition can lead to:

  • Better health
  • More productive life
  • Self-sufficiency and independence
  • Prevention of secondary conditions
  •  A smooth transfer to an adult primary care provider

Having good health means:

  • Better time management
  • Healthy lifestyle habits (see healthy lifestyle habits pyramid)
  • More time to spend with friends
  • Fewer trips to doctor
  • Fewer money/insurance problems
  • Ability to choose your own doctor
  • Better self-awareness

Not having good health can mean:

  • Dealing with sudden medical problems and spending more time with doctors instead of enjoying life to the fullest
  • Missed school/job opportunities
  • No time for friends/loss of friendships, supports, and resources
  • More money/insurance problems

The most important part of understanding the transition process is to master the ability to manage your own health care through:

  • Appointments with health care providers (who to see and when)
  • Medication management (what, why, when and how)
  • Record keeping and documentation
  • Medical decision making (especially if your child is now 18 years old)
  • Knowledge of your health condition
  • Knowledge of insurance options
  • How to handle medical emergencies

Resources for a Successful Transition


For more information about this service contact:

  • Children and Youth Branch, 919-707-5600