Transitioning to adulthood with a life-limiting illness

Adolescents and young adults (AYA) face some unique challenges in living with life limiting illness. Due to advances in medical treatment many AYAs have grown up through childhood with their illness, and despite needing ongoing treatment are no longer children. Others have been diagnosed with a life limiting illness as adolescents or young adults just as they are undergoing significant changes to physical, emotions and social autonomy.

These unique physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs require nurses to have proactive and appropriate knowledge and skills. Adolescents are transitioning into adulthood and independence, and this ongoing development has an impact on caring. [1-2] Many of these adolescents are now reaching adulthood and require support in transitioning to adult services. [2-3]

  1. Kirk S, Fraser C. Hospice support and the transition to adult services and adulthood for young people with life-limiting conditions and their families: A qualitative study. Palliat Med. 2014 Apr;28(4):342-52. Epub 2013 Oct 18.
  2. Howk T, Wasilewski-Masker K. Palliative care for adolescents and young adults: A pediatric perspective. J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2011;1(1):11-12. doi:10.1089/jayao.2011.1503
  3. Clark J, Fasciano K. Young adult palliative care: challenges and opportunities. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2013 Nov 6. [Epub ahead of print]

Last updated 20 August 2021