Lack of Preparedness for Pediatric to Adult-Oriented Health Care Transition in Hospitalized Adolescents and Young Adults

Acad Pediatr. Jan-Feb 2018;18(1):102-110. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2017.07.008. Epub 2017 Aug 1.


Objective: We examined the self-reported preparedness of hospitalized adolescents and young adults (AYA) for transition from pediatric to adult-oriented health care with regard to: 1) previous health care transition (HCT) preparation, 2) Self-Determination Theory (SDT) constructs of health self-management autonomy and competence, and 3) their perception of medical knowledge, attitudes, and concerns.

Methods: From 2013 to 2015, 139 hospitalized patients aged 15 to 21 years completed a 40-item survey on HCT preparation, attitudes, concerns, and perception of knowledge adapted in part from validated questionnaires of the Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and SDT Treatment Self-Regulation Study.

Results: Fewer than 40% of all respondents endorsed previous HCT preparation such as providers discussing taking responsibility for their health, transitioning to adult providers, and only 20% had discussed future health insurance needs. Of our AYA population, 84% had 1 or more special health care needs. Older patients, female patients, and those with increased HCT preparation scores had increased autonomous motivation, positive attitudes toward transition, yet also increased transition concerns. Higher autonomous motivation and perceived competence correlated with increased perception of knowledge (P = .002, < .001 respectively) and more positive attitudes toward transition planning (P < .001, .054 respectively). Multivariate regression analysis revealed those with increased HCT preparation and those with increased perceived competence had increased perception of knowledge (β = .25, P = .005 and β = .35, P < .001).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that hospitalized AYA received limited education and preparation regarding key elements of HCT to adult-oriented health care. Moreover, those previously exposed to transition preparation efforts were more likely to have motivation and a sense of competence in HCT skills.

Keywords: adolescents; health care transition; health care transition readiness; self-determination theory; special health care needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent, Hospitalized
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Self Report*
  • Self-Management*
  • Transition to Adult Care*
  • Young Adult