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Programmes to support transitions in care for children and youth with complex care needs and their families: a scoping review protocol
  1. Shelley Doucet1,
  2. Janet A Curran2,
  3. Sydney Breneol2,
  4. Alison Luke1,
  5. Emilie Dionne3,
  6. Rima Azar4,
  7. Amy E Reid1,
  8. Shelley McKibbon5,
  9. Amanda R Horsman6,
  10. Krystal Binns1
  1. 1Department of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
  2. 2School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  3. 3St. Mary's Research Centre & Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  4. 4Department of Psychology, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada
  5. 5W.K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  6. 6Interdisciplinary Studies, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shelley Doucet; sdoucet{at}


Introduction Children and youth with complex care needs (CCNs) and their families experience many care transitions over their lifespan and are consequently vulnerable to the discontinuity or gaps in care that can occur during these transitions. Transitional care programmes, broadly defined as one or more intervention(s) or service(s) that aim to improve continuity of care, are increasingly being developed to address transitions in care for children and youth with CCNs. However, this literature has not yet been systematically examined at a comprehensive level. The purpose of this scoping review is to map the range of programmes that support transitions in care for children and youth with CCNs and their families during two phases of their lifespan: (1) up to the age of 19 years (not including their transition to adult healthcare) and (2) when transitioning from paediatric to adult healthcare.

Methods and analysis The Joanna Briggs Institute methodology for scoping reviews (ScR) will be used for the proposed scoping review. ScR are a type of knowledge synthesis that are useful for addressing exploratory research questions that aim to map key concepts and types of evidence on a topic and can be used to organise what is known about the phenomena. A preliminary search of PubMed was conducted in December 2018.

Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval is not required where this study is a review of the published and publicly reported literature. The research team’s advisory council will develop a research dissemination strategy with goals, target audiences, expertise/leadership, resources and deadlines to maximise project outputs. The end-of-grant activities will be used to raise awareness, promote action and inform future research, policy and practice on this topic.

  • community child health
  • health policy
  • complex care needs
  • transitions in care
  • continuity of care

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  • Contributors All authors (SD, JAC, SB, AL, ED, RA, AER, SM, ARH and KB) contributed to the project including the design, preparation and editing of the scoping review protocol. SD, SB and AER developed the initial draft of the protocol and, after several iterations with significant input from authors JAC, AL, ED, RA, ARH, SM and KB, all team members approved the final manuscript that was submitted for publishing. In consultation with the research team, an experienced librarian (ARH) developed the search strategy for the scoping review and a second librarian (SM) conducted a peer review of the search strategy. All authors will contribute to the data synthesis and writing of the final scoping review.

  • Funding This work is funded from an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Pan-Canadian Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) Knowledge Synthesis Grant. Matching partners that contributed either cash or in-kind support for this grant include: New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, Eastern Health/Janeway Children’s Hospital, Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit, Dalhousie University, IWK Health Centre, and Prince Edward Island PIHCI Network.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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