New standards of care for trans and gender diverse children and adolescents

The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, 2017

The first Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for trans and gender diverse children and adolescents, led Led by the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, have been released.

Dr Michelle Telfer, Head of Adolescent Medicine and Gender Services at the RCH, says health professionals, such as GPs, school counsellors and psychologists, from around the country often seek information from the RCH but until now only international guidelines had been available.

“With 1.2% of adolescents identifying as transgender, and referrals and requests for specialist support on the rise, there is definitely a need for Australia to have its own guidelines. Trans-medicine is a relatively new area of medical practise, and most doctors didn’t get taught how to manage the care of trans children and adolescents in medical school or in their later specialist training. These guidelines, developed by leaders in this field, will help to fill this knowledge gap,” she says.

The guidelines were developed using current evidence and the input of more than 50 specialists, and they have the endorsement of the Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health.

The guidelines include terminology, information about the unique clinical needs, treatment information, and the role of the various medical disciplines involved in the care.

Trans and gender diverse children and teenagers, and their parents, have also been consulted along the way.

“We frequently hear that many doctors, and other clinicians, don’t feel confident in what to do or say when they come across trans or gender diverse children or adolescents for the first time. With a guide to help them through all the stages of their care, our patients’ feel that they are likely to get better care and that others will also have a more positive experience when approaching doctors or psychologists,” she adds.

 

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