Transition to Adult Care: Systematic Assessment of Adolescents with Chronic Illnesses and their Medical Teams

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To examine the process of transition from pediatric to adult health care services from the perspectives of young adults with chronic disease and both pediatric and adult health care providers.

Study design

A qualitative approach using focus-group interviews was performed to investigate transition experiences. Novel games were also used to generate data. Content and narrative analyses of interview transcripts were performed.


We conducted 6 focus groups with 10 young adults who had chronic disease and with 24 health care providers. Content analysis yielded 3 content domains: (1) transition experiences in the context of relationships among patients, parents, and health care providers; (2) differences between pediatric and adult-oriented medicine and how these differences inhibit or facilitate transition; and (3) identification of transition services that should be provided to young patients who have chronic disease.


This study demonstrates the need for gradual transfer of disease management from parent to child and the need for better communication between adult and pediatric services during the transition process. Pediatric medicine and adult medicine represent different subcultures; acknowledging these differences may improve cooperation during transition from pediatric to adult providers. Young-adult patients with chronic disease embrace the use of technology for specific interventions to improve the transition experience.

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