Published: August 2018

Young people age 14–25 years with chronic kidney disease have been identified as generally having poor health outcomes and are a high-risk group for kidney transplant loss due in part to poor self-management. This raises a key question as to what happens during transition from child to adult services? This paper presents a mixed-method systematic review of health and social care evidence concerning young people with chronic kidney disease transitioning from child to adult health and social care services. Quantitative and qualitative evidence were synthesised in streams followed by an overarching synthesis. Literature searches (2000 to March 2017) were conducted using Pubmed, BioMed Central and Cochrane Library, grey literature sources ZETOC, .gov.uk, third sector organisations, NHS Evidence, SCIE, TRIP, Opengrey. Snowball searching was conducted in the databases Ovid, CINAHL, ISI Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. Of 3,125 records screened, 60 texts were included. We found that while strategies to support transition contained consistent messages, they supported the principle of a health-dominated pathway. Well-being is mainly defined and measured in clinical terms and the transition process is often presented as a linear, one-dimensional conduit. Individual characteristics, along with social, familial and societal relationships are rarely considered. Evidence from young people and their families highlights transition as a zone of conflict between independence and dependency with young people feeling powerless on one hand and overwhelmed on the other. We found few novel interventions and fewer that had been evaluated. Studies were rarely conducted by allied health and social care professionals (e.g. renal social workers and psychologists) as part of multi-disciplinary renal teams. We conclude that there is a lack of good evidence to inform providers of health and social care services about how best to meet the needs of this small but vulnerable cohort.