This study examines the potential role of the health care system in the successful transition to young adulthood for all adolescents, with emphasis on adolescents with special health care needs (ASHCN). Research and conceptual frameworks addressing successful transitions and functioning were reviewed.
Although most national efforts to define skills needed for the transition have focused on career/vocational skills, a few frameworks integrate broader issues such as health, psychosocial development, and civic engagement. Adolescent transitional issues have generally received little attention; however, these have been articulated for ASHCN. Our framework for healthy transitions includes the following: 1) adolescents can access a comprehensive health care system, 2) preventable problems are avoided, and 3) chronic problems are managed. The present health care system falls short of accomplishing these. We conclude that health care services can potentially play a role in facilitating a healthy transition to young adulthood; however, many gaps exist. Although the health care reform act addresses some gaps, efforts that integrate adolescents’ developmental needs and address mental health issues are needed.
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Health Care Services and the Transition to Young Adulthood: Challenges and Opportunities, 08 February 2011 M. Jane Park, Sally H. Adams, Charles E. Irwin Academic Pediatrics DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2010.11.010