Find definitions of transition from children's services into adulthood and how Hospice UK is responding to young people's needs with research, guidance and project funds.

What is Transition?


'Transition' describes the purposeful and planned process of supporting young people to move from children's to adults' services (NICE guidelines, NG43). The process addresses the medical, psychosocial, educational and vocational needs of children and young people. 

Moving from children’s services into adulthood (Transition) can be a stressful time for young adults and their families. Models of care may need to adapt to achieve better outcomes and build knowledge within the workforce.

What does ‘Transition’ mean to young people?

What does ‘Transition’ mean to young people?

- Going through life

- Independence 

- Growing up 

- Moving on 

Our response to the need


Research shows a growing number of children and young adults with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions are now living into adulthood.

Models of care used for these young people need to be adapted as they mature and begin to access adult services, and as their needs and preferences change. 

Young peoples’ stories tell us that they often fail to find the support and services they need from children’s or adult services:

  • Poor planning can result in disengagement or worsening of the young person’s condition.
  • Poor execution of the transition process can lead to poor outcomes in the young person’s health, social participation and education.

Hospice UK believes every young person with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition should have access to appropriate care and support. This should be reflective of their individual needs and preferences. 

We have been successful in securing a three year Transition Project Fund (commencing September 2019) to further transform care for young people with complex and life-limiting conditions and their families.

Networks to transform care for young adults


There is an urgent need to drive improvements in the care and experiences of young adults with complex and life-limiting conditions.

A particular focus must be on improving the ‘Transition’ process which young adults undergo when moving from children's to adults’ palliative care services. Truly hearing the voices of those young people and their families with lived experience will enable this. 

Working with Together for Short Lives, we offer a National Transition Community of Practice with a focus for young people with complex and life-limiting conditions. Current guidance to improve services for Young People has brought about good examples and innovations in practice, and we aim to build on this.

Project ECHO


Hospice UK introduced proven Project ECHO methodology and established a National Transition Community of Practice to promote improvements in the field of young people’s palliative care, particularly the period when they are ‘Transitioning’ from children’s services into adulthood.  

Project ECHO (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a collaborative learning methodology. Project ECHO emphasises ‘moving knowledge, not people’. It provides a safe place where people can come together virtually to share, learn, teach and provide support around a particular issue of common interest.

An ECHO Hub Team is a multidisciplinary team trained to deliver ECHO Knowledge Networks. Across the UK there are currently four dedicated ‘Transition ECHO Hubs’. Through these hubs, professionals share knowledge and work together to further improve services for Young People with complex and life limiting conditions and their families.

Images courtesy of Studio Beci