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After running our first education course focusing on transitional care in October, we caught up with Janet McDonagh, a paediatric and adolescent rheumatology consultant in Manchester, to find out her take-home messages.

Tell me about your experience of the transitional care course?

The day went very well; there was a great buzz around the room with lots of shared learning. Courses addressing paediatric, adolescent and young adult rheumatology issues are fundamentally multidisciplinary so it was great to have representatives of rheumatology teams from paediatric, adolescent and adult, as well as a young person with her mother. This led to rich discussions and debate during the course.

What was your most pertinent ‘take home message’ from the day?

Rather controversially, it seems we need to shift our mindset from a focus on health transition and rather consider the broader context of developmentally appropriate health care for young people aged 10-24. Within this there are multiple transitions, of which health is only one. However, all the other transitions – pubertal, social, education, vocation etc – have implications on health and are therefore also important to consider in both paediatric, adolescent and adult rheumatology care settings.

Why is education like the transitional care course so important? 

Training in paediatric, adolescent and adult curricula is still limited in the UK. Educational courses on this area (of which transitional care is one of many topics), is very important and much needed. Such training needs to be interactive, like this course was, rather than solely lecture-based. Ideally this would be with a mix of health professionals as well as young people, who, after all, are the experts on what it's like to live with a rheumatic disease in the 21st century!