Background: Nearly 750,000 adolescents and emerging adults with special health care needs (AEA-SHCN) enter into adulthood annually. The linkages to ensure the seamless transfer of care from pediatric to adult care and transition to adulthood for AEA-SHCN have yet to be realized.
Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the state of the science of health care transition (HCT) service models as described in quantitative investigations.
Methods: A four-tier screening approach was used to obtain reviewed articles published from 2004 to 2013. A total of 17 articles were included in this review.
Discussion: Transfer of care was the most prominent intervention feature. Overall, using the Effective Public Health Practice Project criteria, the studies were rated as weak. Limitations included lack of control groups, rigorous designs and methodology, and incomplete intervention descriptions.
Conclusion: As the findings indicate, HCT is an emerging field of practice that is largely in the exploratory stage of model development.
Keywords: Adolescents; Emerging adults; Health care transition; Service models; Systematic review.
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