On 27th May, 2024 the Vilnius Declaration was signed at the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, pledging to work together for a smoother transition of cancer care from child to adult healthcare.

Vilnius Declaration on Transition from Pediatric to  Adult Health Care

 

This event, co-organized by POLA and the EU-CAYAS-NET project and hosted by member of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania Monika Ošmianskienė, focused on improving the transition of care for young cancer survivors from pediatric to adult healthcare. It has brought together key stakeholders including policymakers, healthcare professionals, patient advocates, and young people living with and beyond cancer themselves to discuss best practices, government initiatives, and developed action plans for a smoother transition for young cancer survivors.

The Vilnius Declaration on Transition from Pediatric to Adult Cancer Care commits to address the fundamental gaps in transitional care for young cancer survivors, ensuring they receive the necessary support as they transition from paediatric to adult healthcare systems:

1. A section on transition of care must be included in the National Cancer Control Plans as an integral part of life-long follow-up care of young cancer survivors.

2. National healthcare systems must adhere to the European evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to ensure a minimum standard of good transitional care.

  • The European guidelines is one of the major outputs of  the EU-CAYAS-NET project, which is co-funded by the European Commission.
  • The European guidelines serve as a blueprint for healthcare providers, outlining best practices and protocols for supporting young cancer survivors.
  • Drawing on the latest research and expert consensus, the guidelines offer clear recommendations on the key elements of transitional care.

3. Transition programs must be designed and implemented to provide tailored support to young cancer survivors.

  • In order to comply with the latest European standards, these programs need to be designed in accordance with the transition guidelines recommendations, ensuring consistency and quality across different healthcare settings in the European Union.
  • Provision of comprehensive support services that addresses the diverse needs of young cancer survivors must be at the core of these programs.
  • National and cultural context must be considered during the implementation.

4. The development and implementation of transition programs must be supported via joint action programs between the European Commission and national governments.

  • State of the art transition programs offer comprehensive support services, including age-appropriate psychosocial support, education on managing long-term effects of cancer and its treatment, as well as guidance on navigating the adult healthcare system.
  • Public funding is a key-factor for implementing and running successful and effective transition programs. The lack of dedicated funding is a critical barrier in many European Union Member States resulting in lack of transition programs in place.
  • Training and upskilling of the healthcare providers to deliver standard of care transitional programs must be an integral part of funding.

By implementing these solutions, young cancer survivors will receive the support they need to navigate the transition from paediatric to adult healthcare systems successfully. This will improve their quality of life and will contribute to better health outcomes, long-term wellbeing, and a smoother reintegration to the society.

The Parties that are signatories, expressed their support for the proposed set of actions and committed to work together towards their implementation. EU-CAYAS-NET project partners, including Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition (POLA) undertakes to submit the proposed set of actions to the European Commission with the aim of forming the European standards on transition from paediatric to adult cancer care.

Read the full Vilnius Declaration on Transition from Pediatric to Adult Cancer Care in English.

Recording of the event can be accessed at your convenience: Link to YouTube video.