Healthcare Transition from the Family Perspective

  • Laura G. Buckner


The “magic age” of 18—legal adulthood—is a daunting transition under the best circumstances. High school graduation! College or vocational training! Employment! A first apartment or college dorm! The brave new world of adulthood!

How much more formidable is that transition for families whose child has a chronic illness or developmental disability? Amid the excitement and anxiety of managing their child’s transition out of high school, they are often caught off guard to learn how much must change in their child’s medical care. Family members report shock, dismay, fear, and anxiety. They compare the healthcare transition (HCT) experience to “falling off a cliff,” or “a bridge to nowhere.” Unfortunately, many parents report getting little to no help or preparation from their child’s pediatric medical providers.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Good health is key to building an adult life of opportunity, value, and purpose. The ability to work, to live as independently as possible, to engage in meaningful relationships, and even to enjoy recreational activities depends on a degree of physical health and well-being. Medical professionals and family members must address HCT early and often, with clear purpose and intentionality. The future health and life of the young adult depends on it! It requires teamwork.


Healthcare transition Family Adult healthcare Adolescents Chronic health conditions Developmental disability Person-centered practices 


  1. 1.
    “Gabe’s Care Map” used with permission from author Cristin Lind.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Establishing a Healthcare Transition program for Adolescents and Young Adults with Chronic Illness and Disability includes person-centered concepts, principles, and materials used with permission from The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices. Find out more at

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas Center for Disability StudiesThe University of TexasAustinUSA

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