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Here to support the transition into adulthood

When a child turns 18, they are legally an adult. For the medically complex population, this transition requires families to make decisions surrounding the patient’s legal rights and responsibilities as well as potential changes to their healthcare.

By preparing for this transition prior to a child’s 18th birthday, families can be educated on the decisions they will need to make and feel more equipped for this eventual shift.

What it means to legally become an adult

According to Minnesota and Wisconsin law, patients have a legal right to direct their own healthcare and manage their health information when they reach the age of majority, 18 years old.

If a patient cannot make their own healthcare decisions, there are legal documents required to indicate this to healthcare providers.

What it means to transition into adult healthcare

Many hospitals and clinics have policies that identify when a pediatric patient is no longer eligible for care from a particular provider. The specific age can vary from system to system, but is generally somewhere between 18-25.

Children with medical complexities have often been seen at the same hospitals and by the same doctors their entire lives, so news of needing to find adult care providers can be a shock if they haven’t been prepared for this transition.

Patients will not need to worry about transitioning off of service with PHS as long as we have a contract with their insurance provider. 

How to start the process

The first step to proactive planning is simply becoming aware of the eventual change and starting the conversation early – with family members, healthcare providers, and any other professionals in your child’s circle of care.

We have put tools and resources together that lay the groundwork for these discussions while exploring the various aspects of entering adulthood, and what that means for a person with medical complexities.

Helpful and Trusted Resources

Got Transition

Healthcare transition FAQs

MN Dept. of Health

Children & youth with special health needs

WI Dept. of Health

Children & youth with special needs

Center for Parent Information and Resources

Student transition & IEPs

Mike's Story

Transitioning from pediatric to adult healthcare

Kids As Self Advocates

For youth with disabilities.

PACER Center

Helping students transition to life
after high school

Complex Child

Planning for the

Today's Caregiver

Considerations for a special needs child turning 18

We Are Able

Young adults with disabilities

Got Transition

Tools and resources to help youth & families

Boston Children's Hospital

Advancing healthcare transitions

Children's of Philadelphia

Transitioning with a chronic illness

Teen Transition

Pediatric vs. adult healthcare

Seattle Children's Hospital

Pediatric vs. adult healthcare

Center for Parent Information & Resources

Getting ready for your teen to turn 18

Got Transition

What turning 18 means for your health

Law Help MN

Understanding powers of attorney

Law Help MN

Guardianship and conservatorship

Law Help MN

WI Dept. of Health Services

Advance directives

Special Needs Financial Planning

Determine your timeline

The Arc MN

Tools to plan now and in the future


Becoming an Adult

Legal and financial planning

Supported Decision Making

Minnesota guardianship laws

Supported Decision Making

Alternatives to guardianship

PACER Center

Planning your child’s future

Supported Decision Making

Minnesota guardianship laws

Got Transition

Readiness assessment

Got Transition

Questions for youth to ask their doctor

Barts Health NHS Trust

Advice from youth to youth

Boston Children's Hospital

Help teens take responsibility for their healthcare

Seattle Children's Hospital

A parent’s important and changing role


Booklet on getting ready for adult care


Transition readiness checklists for adolescents


Transition readiness checklists for parents

Got Transition

Medical summary and emergency care plan


MyHealth Passport

Career Bridge

Path to career planning

Kids As Self Advocates

How to do a job search

US Department of Labor

Office of Disability Employment Policy

Tools To Prepare for Transition

Having access to the right tools can make all the difference as families prepare for a child to transition into adult care. We have put together four resources, adapted from, that provide a starting point for caregivers and youth alike, including assessments, a care plan, and a transfer checklist.

care plan template for transitioning children with medical complexities to adult care

This document allows you to store your child’s basic information, allergies, diagoses, surgeries, hospitalizations and more in one place. With all of these details available, meeting with new doctors can be more efficient and less stressful.

caregivers readiness assessment

With the caregiver assessment, you can consider what you think your child knows about his/her medical needs and, if necessary, what steps need to be taken to help them learn what they need to understand.

youth readiness assessment for transitioning to adult healthcare

The youth readiness assessment is used to have your child self-evaluate what they know about their healthcare needs and how to navigate the healthcare system, and identify and necessary follow-up items.

transfer of care checklist for transitioning to adult care

Use the transfer of care checklist to ensure you have the necessary materials for your child’s transfer package before sending them to any doctors or healthcare professionals.