About our Programme

The Transition Programme was a 5-year programme of research (2012-2017) examining how health services can contribute most effectively to the successful transition of young people with complex health needs from childhood to adulthood. 

What is Transition?

Transition is the "purposeful, planned process that addresses the medical, psychosocial, educational and vocational needs of adolescents and young adults with chronic medical and physical conditions as they move from child-centred to adult oriented healthcare systems." (Blum 1993) It therefore goes beyond the 'transfer' of responsibility for a young person's care between child and adult services.‌‌

 Diagram showing transition and transfer

What were the objectives of the research?

The overall aim of the Programme was to provide NHS commissioners and trusts with evidence about what might help young people with long-term health problems as they transfer from child to adult services.  This will help them to allocate resources and structure services accordingly.  Within this larger aim, the Programme had three objectives.  These are to:

1) To work with young people with complex health needs to determine what successful transition means to them and what is important in their transitional care

2)  To identify the features of transitional care that are effective and efficient

 3)  To determine how transitional care should be organised, provided and commissioned

To meet these objectives there were 9 studies, or work packages.

Why study Transition?

The topic of transition of young people with complex health needs has become significant in the last two decades as it has been realised that such young people have poor outcomes. Young adults with childhood onset cancer, renal disease, congenital heart disease and chronic physical disability experience delays in autonomy, psychosexual and social development. Few young adults with autism spectrum disorder attain their potential for participation. Young people find it difficult to negotiate transition across a range of conditions including haematology, diabetes, neurology, physical disability and rheumatology.

Over the same period there has emerged much new understanding of adolescent brain development and its correlation with adolescent behaviour. Therefore, approaches to improving transition should be set in a developmental and behavioural context.

Who was involved in the Programme?

The Transition Programme was led by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust, in close partnership with Newcastle University.  The  Programme  involved further NHS  Trusts and the voluntary sector.  Full details of those involved can be found on the People page.