Survivors of childhood cancer will, at some stage, move from pediatric to adult care and/or to a different model of care to continue to receive long-term follow-up. Literature relating to transitional care for childhood onset conditions exists, but little research has been undertaken into transition in a cancer context, specifically from an experiences perspective.
The aim of this study was to report how the process of transition should be considered within the context of young people’s entire illness experience and how that experience can impact their transition readiness.
A qualitative, collective case study approach was adopted. Semistructured interviews were conducted with young people, parents, and healthcare professionals. Young people’s oncology case notes were also reviewed.
Data analysis generated a multidimensional and multiple-perspective understanding of the experience of the process of transition. A central orienting theme was identified: the experience of readiness in the context of transition.
Understanding the multifaceted components of readiness is crucial; readiness should embody people’s illness experiences, the numerous and associated losses intertwined with a move from pediatric to adult care, and the simultaneous developmental changes occurring in people’s lives.
The findings provide a meaningful framework to understand the experience of transition from the perspective of young people, parents, and healthcare professionals. These findings could help with the planning and preparation of individualized transitional care pathways for survivors of childhood cancer.
Author Affiliations: School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee, Scotland (Drs McCann and Kearney), and Department of Neurobiology, Care Science, and Society, Division of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden (Dr Wengström).
This study was funded by the Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government, grant number DTF/08/05.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Lisa McCann, PhD, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee, 11 Airlie Place, Dundee, DD1 4HJ, United Kingdom (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for publication July 7, 2013.