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Keywords:

  • adolescence;
  • diabetes;
  • person-centred health care;
  • qualitative methods;
  • training;
  • transition pathway

Abstract

Background  The prevalence of Type 1 diabetes is increasing with more children and adolescents being diagnosed with this chronic condition. There has been an increasing focus in recent years on the transition through adolescence and supporting young people who have chronic health conditions, with the recognition that young people are at risk of dropping out of healthcare services following transfer from paediatric to adult services. To date, there have been limited evaluations of transition models. The purpose of this study is to evaluate one such model in diabetes, the ‘Transition Pathway’ via interviews with young people who have experienced it first-hand. The results are discussed in terms of understanding the unique needs of adolescents with regard to psychosocial developmental theory, and what this means for healthcare providers of transition/adolescent services.

Methods  Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 11 young people, two of whom returned a year later for a second interview. Qualitative analysis of these interviews using a ‘Framework’ approach enabled the data to be sorted according to initial themes. Following this, further analysis enabled the identification of ‘super-ordinate’ or overall themes.

Results  Six initial themes emerged from the data. These concerned the transition pathway process, the experience and organization of transfer, organization of services, information and education, the healthcare consultation and the need for services to be inclusive of all young people's needs. From these initial themes, two overall/super-ordinate themes were identified: the need for transition services to be developmentally appropriate and to be based around individual needs. The consultation experience was central to keeping young people engaged with adolescent healthcare services.

Conclusion  Several key elements of adolescent/transition healthcare services have been proposed, one of which is training for professionals delivering the service. This study suggests that communication skills form a vital component of such training.