There is a dearth of research on what constitutes effective transfer of care from children’s and young people services to adult services for patients with eating disorders (EDs) in the UK. Transition has implications for continuity of care and particularly for early intervention which has the best prognosis. The purpose of this paper is to understand the experience of transition and identify facilitators and barriers to this.
Qualitative methodology was used. Focus groups (n = 4) were held with clinicians (n = 22) working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services or adult ED services. Individual interviews were conducted with patients (n = 5) who had commenced/completed transition to adult services and with parents/carers (n = 6) of patients invited for interview.
A number of factors may facilitate or impede transition and can be grouped into the broad themes of communication, managing the differences between services and timing of transition. Improvements in communication, clear explanation of service differences and flexibility around the timing of transitions may enhance the experience for patients and parents/carers.
The service evaluation was limited to transition between two specialist ED services in one geographical location. The findings provide the basis for a wider research study to examine which factors are most important when planning transition from the perspectives of patients, parents/carers and clinicians.
This is the first study examining ED transitions in the UK. It provides valuable insight of the experience of service users and carers and highlights potential improvements when planning transitions for this patient group.
The authors would like to thank the patients, parents and clinicians for their participation in the service evaluation.Funding: The study was funded by a grant from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust Charitable Funds.
Wales, J., Brewin, N., Susi, K., Eivors, A., Whight, D. and Leatherland, R. (2021), "Experience of transition between a child and adolescent service and adult service for the treatment of eating disorders", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 128-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-01-2020-0005
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