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7 tips for Transitioning into the Adult Health Care System… by Maggie, a Upopolis UMentor!

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Do you know a youth who is soon transitioning from pediatric to adult health care? We were so excited to have Maggie, a past Upopolis user, young adult, and UMentor join us for this month’s blog post on just that! Transitioning into the adult health care world.

Maggie joined Upopolis almost ten years ago, soon after it’s inception, and became an avid member. During her years on Upopolis, she went from being a youth user to a UPal (taking on a more leadership role), and is now a UMentor. A UMentor is a youth turned young adult who has transitioned out of pediatrics and comes online to help our current youth cope with their own transition.

Read her 7 tips for making the transition smooth:

“For those with complex and chronic health conditions, going to appointments at the hospital can become routine. We are fortunate to have tertiary pediatric health care across Canada, but it can be easy to forget how unique the Children’s Hospitals are run until your time in the system comes to a close. Every family dreads the time when the transition between child-centered to adult-oriented health care has to occur, but it doesn’t always have to be a negative experience. Unfortunately, my transition was somewhat abrupt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, I would like the share some tips and tricks that I have learned along the way:

  1. Advocate for yourself and make sure your voice is heard. Make sure you go over your history thoroughly and tell your doctors what works for you and what doesn’t.
  2. Ask lots of questions, you have a right to know exactly what is happening. Bring a notepad to write notes or even a friend/family member who can also listen in.
  3. Be honest with where you’re at and how your health is affecting your life. Nobody knows your body better than you.
  4. Build a relationship with your new care team. It is important for your medical team to know who you truly are and what drives your determination.
  5. Let yourself be okay with change. Be open to letting new people in on your health journey whether that be doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc…
  6. Talk about the transition before it happens. Outline what you want to see before, during, and after transition to keep yourself accountable.
  7. Reach out to your child life specialist in person or through Upopolis as they are equipped to help ease the transition and often have incredible tips.

I hope that these points are helpful to others. While it can be daunting, it is a necessary next step in your medical journey. Keep your head up and make sure your voice is heard when discussing your health.

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