Objective: To identify the ideal programme of transitional care for adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) as perceived by users and providers, and to examine the feasibility of achieving this within a UK National Health Service context.
Methods: A modified two-stage Delphi study was undertaken with rheumatology health professionals, young people with JIA (aged 12-25 yr) and their parents. Participants were presented with statements about transitional care and asked to rate (i) the extent to which these constituted best practice, and (ii) their feasibility.
Results: Second-round questionnaires were completed by 83 individuals, representing an overall response rate of 90%. Items strongly agreed to constitute best practice and highly feasible included: 'addressing young people's psychosocial and educational/vocational needs'; 'using an individualized approach'; 'providing honest explanations of the adolescent's condition and health-care'; 'providing opportunities for adolescents to express opinions and make informed decisions'; 'having continuity in health personnel'; and 'giving adolescents the option of being seen by professionals without their parents'. However, providing adolescent-focused environments, professionals knowledgeable in transitional care and opportunities for young people with JIA to meet similar others were seen as feasible in only a few hospitals.
Conclusions: There is considerable agreement as to the most important elements of transitional care. Those that are easily achievable should be undertaken in all hospitals that care for adolescents with JIA. However, not all elements identified were perceived as easily feasible; further research is required to determine how to implement these elements.