Tool Kit Eases Transition From Youth to Adult Diabetes Care

Marlene Busko

July 30, 2014

New online resources provide practical information for young adults with diabetes or growth-hormone deficiency — as well as their parents, pediatricians, and adult healthcare providers — as they transition to adult care. The tool kits are part of a Transitions of Care initiative by several physician societies.

As the webpage for type 1 diabetes explains, "Patients who are living with type 1 diabetes face a number of challenges in successfully managing their disease — and transitioning from a pediatric to a new adult doctor can be yet another obstacle."

"The transition isn't simply a matter of finding an adult healthcare provider and transferring some files," Transitions of Care task-force member Alan D. Rogol, MD, PhD, professor emeritus in the department of pediatrics at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, said in a statement. Young adults are learning to manage their complex chronic disease without parental support and have concerns that healthcare providers need to understand, he added.

The tool kit for type 1 diabetes consists of a series of PDFs including, for example, a 1-page "Patient self-assessment of worries, concerns, and burden" form to help patients identify topics that they would like to address with their healthcare provider, such as "I feel burned out from trying to control my blood sugars all the time."

Patients also have access to patient fact sheets, which provide multiple links toinformation covering a gamut of topics from dealing with jobs and college life to technical information about insulin pumps.

The "Provider assessment of patient skill set" PDF is a 3-page form that helps a pediatrician identify how ready a patient is to assume responsibility for managing their blood glucose.

The "Recommended approach to planning for pediatric practices" PDF lists what pediatricians need to do — for example, work with patients and their parents to develop a transition action plan and exchange information with the adult care provider.

The "Clinical summary for the new healthcare team" provides a convenient form to summarize a patient's detailed history and issues.

"For young adults who have longstanding relationships with pediatric care providers, the new and old healthcare teams want to ensure all the relevant details about the patient's history and condition are handed off," Dr. Rogol added. "Improved coordination among the healthcare professionals lightens the burden on the patient and helps them grow comfortable with the new care team."

For the adult healthcare provider, the "Welcome to the practice patient guide" provides guidance on how to inform patients about things such as making appointments. The "Recommended approach for receiving a new patient"provides guidance about transition visits and planning the first encounter (allow ample time).

The tool kit for growth hormone deficiency is similar to that for diabetes. The task force plans to also develop resources for people with childhood cancer, Turner syndrome, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

Participants in the Transitions of Care initiative include the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, the Hormone Health Network, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Physicians.

The program is supported by educational grants from Lilly, Medtronic Diabetes, and Novo Nordisk.

Type 1 diabetes tool kit

Growth-hormone deficiency tool kit

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