What is healthcare transition, and why is it important?
In late adolescence and young adulthood (a stage called "emerging adulthood"), youth face several challenges and transitions in their path to independent adulthood. These include transitioning from high school to college, work or vocational training, forming independent friendships and romantic relationships or independent households, and transitioning from the pediatric healthcare system to the adult healthcare system.
Youth with special healthcare needs or ongoing need for health care services, face significant obstacles as they age out of highly supportive pediatric healthcare services and assume responsibility for their own health care. Youth can be at various stages of readiness to assume these responsibilities. Those youth that are not ready to assume independent responsibility for their own health and health care are at risk for failing to become integrated in the adult healthcare system, stopping needed care and potentially face deterioration in their health.
Through assessment, as well as provider and family interventions, the various stages of transition can be better measured and validated. This then helps both pediatric and adult providers (including programs specifically focused on transition) and families better understand and support the transition process.