Aims and objectives: In this article, we critically assess the state of the science of transition care in chronic conditions using diabetes care as an exemplar and provide a case for the adoption of the principles of the Chronic Care Model in driving health care reform.
Background: Globally, there is an increasing burden of chronic conditions including among adolescents and young adults. As a consequence adolescents are transitioning, at an increasing rate, from paediatric services into mainstream adult services, which are often ill equipped to meet their needs.
Design: Integrative literature review.
Methods: An integrative literature review method was used to summarise key issues facing adolescents with chronic illness and generate strategies for improving health care services.
Conclusion: Strengthening the capacity for transitioning from a service that is family focused to one with an individual orientation requires a paradigmatic shift and clear identification of roles and responsibilities in the health care system. The absence of empirically developed models of care, in a context of growing need, signals the importance of ongoing discussion, debate and research.
Implications for clinical practice: There is a need for a change in philosophical orientation to promote service provision on the basis of need, rather than a model based on diagnosis and chronology. Nurses and other health professionals need to increase their awareness of issues facing adolescents with chronic conditions making the transition to adult health services.