Akershus University Hospital has since 2012 worked systematically towards improving the process of transfer for adolescents from the Department for Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DPAM) to adult services in our hospital.
To improve the transfer process of adolescents we aimed at moving from a more administrative focus on transfers to a transition programme. The aim was both short-term and long-term gains, namely quality improvement of the healthcare we are providing and valued health promotion outcomes.
A guided transition programme for adolescents was developed, piloted and introduced. It was developed in close collaboration with our youth council. An e-learning programme and a handbook for health care professionals were developed for implementation.
Data from the pilot testing the transition programme show that the adolescent participants found the information material to be relevant. They reported that it was used actively by the health professionals in their consultations and that they found this to be helpful. It was crucial that the management acknowledged and took responsibility for the programme. We experienced that a shared understanding of the adolescent patient in both sending and receiving departments was crucial.
Adolescent medicine should include competence and professionalism. Health care personnel must possess knowledge, skills and attitude that enable good, health promoting encounters. Further evaluation of pre- and post-implementation clinical outcomes, of patient empowerment and of satisfaction among employees will need to follow for evaluation of the effectiveness of this transition programme.