“Improving the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare: Recommendations from young adults with lived experience”

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of New Brunswick


Background: With advancements in modern healthcare, an increasing number of youth with complex care needs now survive into adulthood. As healthcare service demands increase for this population, challenges exist for how to best facilitate meeting their high resource needs, particularly as they experience transitions in care. For young adults with childhood-onset chronic conditions (e.g., T1 diabetes, autism, and mental health conditions) and/or complex care needs, the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare is a critical time for both their overall life course and health outcomes. Throughout and following this transition, young adults are vulnerable to deteriorating outcomes, such as a decline in health status. Most studies exploring how to enhance service delivery outcomes focus on perspectives other than the young adults themselves. Seeking input from young adults directly about their experiences with health services is a key step towards improving service delivery. Objective: The aim of this dissertation was to better understand the experiences and service improvement recommendations of young adults with chronic conditions and/or complex care needs who transitioned from pediatric to adult healthcare services. Methods: A scoping review and qualitative descriptive research study were used to explore the recommendations and experiences associated with the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare, from the perspectives of young adults who have experienced this transition. Results: Recommendations identified in the scoping review included: 1) improving continuity of care; 2) facilitating patient-centred care; 3) building strong support networks; and 4) implementing transition education preparedness training. In the qualitative descriptive study, prevailing themes for improving the experience of YAs in transition from pediatric to adult healthcare services included establishing: 1) continuity of care; 2) improved access to supports; 3) transition readiness; and 4) a patient-centred care team. Conclusion: Results from this dissertation will inform research, practice, and policy. The recommendations of young adults with chronic conditions and/or complex care needs present policymakers, healthcare providers, researchers, young adults, and families with practical transition service improvement strategies and actions.