Acute care toolkit 13: Acute care for adolescents and young adults

Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) aged 16–24 account for 36% of emergency department attendances and 20% of those that receive inpatient care. 

Compared with older adults, AYAs report:

  • being less satisfied with their care
  • being less likely to feel involved in their care
  • having less confidence and trust in their doctor
  • being less likely to feel that they are treated with respect and dignity.

Acute medical teams need to possess the knowledge and skills, and demonstrate the appropriate behaviours, to manage AYAs effectively and compassionately.

This toolkit recommends ways to face the challenges of acute care for AYAs and how to implement a whole systems approach, models of care, and suggested education and training. It includes quality criteria, example screening questions, and an outcomes framework for AYAs on the acute medical unit.

An RCP educational slideset containing the key learning points from the toolkit is also available to download. 

Bella Milroy, a young member of the RCP Patient and Carer Network, describes the difference that the toolkit will make to acute care for AYAs.