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Transition between child and adult services for young people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): findings from a British national surveillance study

  • Helen Eke (a1), Tamsin Ford (a2), Tamsin Newlove-Delgado (a3), Anna Price (a4), Susan Young (a5), Cornelius Ani (a6), Kapil Sayal (a7), Richard M. Lynn (a8), Moli Paul (a9) and Astrid Janssens (a10)...

Abstract

Background

Optimal transition from child to adult services involves continuity, joint care, planning meetings and information transfer; commissioners and service providers therefore need data on how many people require that service. Although attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) frequently persists into adulthood, evidence is limited on these transitions.

Aims

To estimate the national incidence of young people taking medication for ADHD that require and complete transition, and to describe the proportion that experienced optimal transition.

Method

Surveillance over 12 months using the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Surveillance System, including baseline notification and follow-up questionnaires.

Results

Questionnaire response was 79% at baseline and 82% at follow-up. For those aged 17–19, incident rate (range adjusted for non-response) of transition need was 202–511 per 100 000 people aged 17–19 per year, with successful transition of 38–96 per 100 000 people aged 17–19 per year. Eligible young people with ADHD were mostly male (77%) with a comorbid condition (62%). Half were referred to specialist adult ADHD and 25% to general adult mental health services; 64% had referral accepted but only 22% attended a first appointment. Only 6% met optimal transition criteria.

Conclusions

As inclusion criteria required participants to be on medication, these estimates represent the lower limit of the transition need. Two critical points were apparent: referral acceptance and first appointment attendance. The low rate of successful transition and limited guideline adherence indicates significant need for commissioners and service providers to improve service transition experiences.

Declaration of interest

None.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Helen Eke, South Cloisters Rm 1.01, University of Exeter Medical School, St Luke's Campus, 79 Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK. Email: h.e.eke@exeter.ac.uk

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Transition between child and adult services for young people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): findings from a British national surveillance study

  • Helen Eke (a1), Tamsin Ford (a2), Tamsin Newlove-Delgado (a3), Anna Price (a4), Susan Young (a5), Cornelius Ani (a6), Kapil Sayal (a7), Richard M. Lynn (a8), Moli Paul (a9) and Astrid Janssens (a10)...
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