Ethical considerations in transition

Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2010 Oct-Dec;22(4):453-9. doi: 10.1515/ijamh.2010.22.4.453.


The objective of this paper is to explore ethical issues in the provision of transitional care. Using five case studies a number of ethical issues in transition and transition care are discussed. These issues include: 1) preserving, promoting and ensuring dignity and respect for patients; 2) fostering and supporting the trusting relationships that young people and their parents have for pediatric providers to their new adult providers by using a graduated system of transfer; 3) recognizing graduated capacity; 4) promoting autonomy and self-management; 5) duties of beneficence and non-maleficence; 6) truthtelling; 7) duty to provide developmentally appropriate care; and 8) duty of pediatric providers to advocate for transitioning patients in the adult system. Attention to the ethical issues surrounding these complex cases has the potential to positively influence a successful transition to adult-oriented health care.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / ethics*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / ethics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Pediatrics / ethics*
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Self Care
  • Trust
  • Young Adult