Health Care Transition for Providers

Preparing Teens for the Move to Adult Care | Healthcare and Community Settings | For Teens and Young Adults  |  For Families and Support Systems 

Healthcare Settings

It is important for health care providers and other professionals caring for youth/young adults and their families to establish health care transition processes from pediatric to adult care, for youth with and without special health care needs. Whether you have a pediatric, family, or adult practice/clinic, there are tools available to assist your preparation for the health care transition process.

Got Transition, the national guidance on health care transition policy, suggests using:


How Well is Your Practice Implementing Health Care Transition?

The Six Core Elements can guide physicians through the STEPS of transition.

  • Transition Policy:

    A policy that describes your practice’s approach to health care transition, to include legal changes that take place in privacy and consent at age 18 and the age when your pediatric practice stops seeing young adults; or, the age when your family/adult practice begins accepting young adults.

    • Establish a policy for your provider’s office
    • Embrace and share the policy as early as age 12
    • Examples: Post a copy in the waiting area, include it with office paperwork, post it on the website or patient portal
    • Ensure all staff are familiar with and communicating the policy
    • Have regular conversations with all youth and families about the transition policy and what to expect from your provider’s office
  • Transition Tracking and Monitoring:

    A process to identify transition age patients and monitor their progress.

    • Use a flow sheet, registry or the electronic health record if possible to track and monitor the progress of transition age patients (14-26) as they move through the six core elements of transition
  • Transition Readiness:

    A method or assessment tool, used yearly, to assess and re-assess healthcare/self-care skills for youth/young adult, and their family, beginning at age 14.

    • Choose an assessment tool or method to assess the youth’s ability to perform health care management on their own
    • Families should be assessed on their ability to encourage healthcare self-management and assume less of their youth’s responsibility, where possible
    • In cases involving total care youth, shared decision-making and/or guardianship should be a focus of readiness and planning. Even then, some skills may be adapted to fit their circumstances
    • Both groups should be assessed and monitored regularly     
  • Transition Planning:

    Based on assessment, the plan of care includes transition-related goals and actions.

    • Based on readiness assessment findings, develop and regularly update the plan of care with joint goals and actions.
    • Provide updates to medical summary and emergency care plan
    • Discuss privacy and change of consent that occurs at age 18
    • Address supported decision-making for adult-focused health care where necessary
    • Identify condition sheets or legal documents, if needed
    • Encourage one-on-one time with youth/young adult without parent’s presence
    • Acknowledge parent/caregiver’s request to support their youth’s transition efforts
    • Provide linkage to community resources, identify adult provider/specialist
    • Discuss best timing of transfer to adult provider/model of care
  • Transfer of Care:

    Prepare youth and necessary paperwork to transfer to an identified adult provider.

    • For pediatric providers: actively involved in outreach to identify adult providers
    • Utilize a transfer package checklist that may include: a letter of transfer, medical summary and emergency form, latest readiness assessment, plan of care, medical records, legal documents, and condition fact sheets (where applicable)
    • Confirm information received by the adult provider and attendance at the first appointment
    • An adult provider, insurance coverage, or alternate health care facilities have been identified and the youth is prepared to take charge of their health care
    • Families should be in a supportive role, where possible, of the young adult’s healthcare needs.
    • Adult practices develop transition clinics to help acclimate new patients
    • For family physicians, make sure young adult understands the change in the model of care
    • Transfer to an adult provider/model of care is recommended before the age of 22
  • Transition Completion:

    Young adult has attended their first appointment with an identified adult provider or changed from the pediatric to an adult model of care. Feedback about the transition process is gathered and used to improve the transition process.

    • Pediatric consultation and assistance offered   
    • System created to contact young adults and/or caregivers to request feedback about the transition process possibly through a short survey
    • Feedback helps to improve health care transition system 

Six Core Elements can be altered and used by Other Professionals (school nurses, educational transition specialists, case managers, etc.) who work with youth/young adults and their families within the transition age group to achieve similar goals and outcomes.

Take the full assessment to assess your practice's health care transition progress. 


For more information on how to best customize forms for your use, visit Six Core Elements of Healthcare Transition & Samples or contact the Georgia Department of Public Health at [email protected]


Community Settings

 Health care transition does not happen only in the health setting. It is a collective process that takes place in many different settings such as education, employment, case management, etc. Any professional working to improve the lives of youth and young adults between the ages of 12-26 can assist in the transition process by using these easy STEPS.

Start Slow, Start Now! The time to begin this process is the present.  

  • The earlier you begin this process the more likely a successful transition plan is developed.
  • Identify the youth/students and families in this group, both with and without special health care needs.

Talk with your youth and families/caregivers about transition.

  • Help students/families to understand, identify, and access adult services and resources
  • Explore transition readiness tools with youth/students and families
  • Keep an open dialogue with youth/student and families

Educate your youth/young adult about the process, their conditions, what to expect, etc. Remember transition is a process that takes time and practice.

  • Encourage self-management activities and skills
  • Use the one on one time with your youth to reflect the one on one relationship with the physician
  • Encourage youth to ask questions about health care

Plan and begin creating a transition plan for the youth/young adult.

  • Participate in the IEP meetings
  • Incorporate self-advocacy and self-management skills in school IEP or case plan
  • Proactive consideration of health-related factors in development of transition IEPs or case plans
  • Educate families about waivers, vocational rehabilitation programs, supportive decision making and guardianship process

Support your youth in this process.

Page last updated 5/23/2024