Chronic Pain: Information About Transitioning to Adult Services

The Walton Centre Pain Management Team have put together a resource for patients transitioning from paediatric to adult services.

Moving from child to adult services can feel like a huge change for younger adults and their families due to the very different ways in which both types of services are run. Understandably for young people this can be quiet daunting, especially as there are some big unknowns about what adult services will offer and how they work.  This booklet aims to address this need.

Research has shown that this younger age group are more likely to not attend and detach from adult services, at a crucial age when they are leaving school/home, and struggling to enhance independence and cope with further education/working environments. This can have a huge impact on their development generally, mental health and management of their chronic pain condition.

Transition services are aiming to capture this group and try and support young people through this challenging time into their mid/late 20s and to prevent them from “falling off the radar” as much as is possible. Whilst transitional services are relatively well established for potentially life limiting conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy they are less well established for chronic pain services. In 2016 The Walton Centre Foundation trust in Liverpool and Alderhey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool began to develop a transitional service for younger adults living with chronic pain. This service is an MDT service involving clinical psychologists, pain and rheumatology consultants, nurses and physios. As part of this service we hope to support younger adults and their families through this transition and make sure they are confident in how to manage their pain and access services in the future.

Although younger adults accessing this service have found the process valuable they were requesting more information to support this process and we have therefore worked to develop a chronic pain Transition booklet for young people who are moving into adult services to help them navigate this change.  Essentially, this booklet aims to help young people with chronic pain conditions, and their families, who are preparing to move/transition into adult services – or those who have recently made this move. Younger adults using the transitional service and younger adults who have also attended our young adults pain management programme have told us what they feel should be included in this booklet. Their very honest feedback has helped the transitional team (led by the Walton Centre's PMP & Pain Rehab Service Lead, Dr Kerry Mathews) to refine numerous drafts leading to the finished article. The project was also helped along by a funding award linked to explaining pain/PMP to children’s booklet published last year and allowed us to involve professional designers and publishers.   

We hope that this booklet would be useful (for both dedicated transition services and those without) for our young CP population as it looks at what this process could mean and gives some ideas and tips for planning for this and navigating adult services.  It outlines some of the similarities and differences between child and adult services and what types of support are available in adult services and how this could help.  It also provides some advice and information for parents who are also going through these changes and struggling with the very different adult systems.

The Walton Centre Pain Management Programme website: