The needs of physically disabled young people during transition to adult services

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The needs and provisions for health service and housing adaptation of a cohort of school leavers with physical disabilities in two inner city London health districts are described in this cross-sectional study.


Fourteen young people were assessed by two consultant community paediatricians during their last year at school, using a structured proforma that includes the British Association of Community Child Health standards of functional levels.


Great difficulty was encountered in identifying the subjects, partly because of inadequate information systems. Only 16 were identified out of over 12 000 school leavers. Important discrepancies were found between the needs assessed and the services provided. For the total sample, the need for 49 potential referrals to adult specialist services was identified, but 17 were not made as such services did not exist, in contrast to what had been available within paediatric services. Adult physiotherapy and occupational therapy services were particularly under-provided for young people with physical disabilities. Only a minority were eligible for housing adaptations.


Suggestions are made for improvements in information systems, the transition process, revised provision of services and closer involvement of general practitioners.

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