8 Principles for Transition: Guidance

Guidance and tools from WellChild, WellChild Nurses across the UK and All-Age Continuing Care, to support health and care professionals to improve practice for children and young people with complex medical needs requiring transition from children to adult services.

Following the success of the 11 Principles for Better Training project and the 10 Principles for Complex Discharge, the WellChild Nurses, a network of over 50 specialist children’s nurses from across the UK and Northern Ireland, identified the national need for something similar to be created for the area of transition from children to adult services.

The WellChild nurse network brings together the skills and knowledge of clinicians and their health and social care colleagues from across the UK who have extensive experience in working with children and young people with complex medical needs.

It is acknowledged that transition from children to adult services is carried out differently depending on where you are in the UK and who or what is available to support the process. However, family experience of transition across multiple collaborative surveys have shown that the experience of this process is predominantly negative. Professionals working in this sphere of support and family suggestions for improvement have come together to co-produce this project to aid successful transfer to adult services.

What is it?

The project comprises three key elements to support professionals working to transition young people from children to adult services:

  1. 8 Principles for Transition – guiding principles for what to consider at each stage of the transition process for young people with complex medical needs.
  2. Toolkit – information, templates, forms to be used at each stage of the transition process. The toolkit will be subject to continuous review and improvement.
  3. Useful existing references or resources – other useful information around transition to support professionals.

Although available separately all three elements are designed to be used together to aid best practice.


The aim of WellChild and WellChild nurses is to ensure children and young people with complex needs get the right care at the right place and time. These children are now living longer due to medical and technological advancements, meaning more are reaching adulthood and entering adult services. Our purpose is that this project will be a useful reference framework to give clinicians the information and tools to ensure that there is a consistent, safe and timely approach to transition, ultimately leading to successful transfer of care.

The content of this framework is a consensus of nurses and clinicians actively leading and supporting children, young people, their families, and other professionals through complex transition pathways.

Transition reference guide and tools

These documents are up to date at the time of publishing.