Frontline Gastroenterol 2:237-241 doi:10.1136/fg.2010.002741
  • New ways of working

Inflammatory bowel disease in transition: challenges and solutions in adolescent care

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  1. Sara McCartney
  1. Correspondence to Sara McCartney; University College London, 235 Euston Road, London NW1 2BQ, UK; sara.mccartney{at}
  • Accepted 23 June 2011
  • Published Online First 31 July 2011


The prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in childhood is increasing with a phenotype now established as one of complicated and extensive disease. Adolescent patients form a significant proportion of those requiring lifelong care. One of the most important steps in establishing a personal ability to effectively manage chronic disease is appropriate education, communication and a good relationship with healthcare professionals and a successful transition programme and subsequent transfer to adult care underpins this. It is vital to build trust and include parental input while transferring responsibility to the young person Although the literature confirms that the majority of paediatric gastroenterology units now have planned provision for transfer, the quality and appropriateness of these services have not been assessed or audited. This article discusses the drivers for establishing and improving transition services from both the patient's and healthcare provider's perspective. This heterogeneity of provision of healthcare for adolescents needs to be addressed and the experience of young people themselves is good evidence of this need. Barriers to optimal care need to be identified and managed and healthcare providers need to ‘buy in’ to establishing a flexible, patient focused achievable service for their patient population.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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