Growing up right: Transitioning from pediatric to adult rheumatology care
Author: Sangeeta Sule
As with all children, those with juvenile idiopathic arthritis eventually grow up and become adults. Continuing medical care from the pediatric to the adult world can be challenging, both for these young adults and their parents, but there are a number of excellent resources to help with this transition. The goal of these transition programs is to prepare young adults to take over the medical decision making that, up to this point, may have been shared by child and parent. Pediatric care is often child and family-centered, whereas adult care is often patient-centered.
The role of caregivers
In addition to the patient and family, the team of caregivers also has a role in transition. During the teenage years pediatric providers often encourage visits without parents, and self-management skills including methods to remember to take medicines. Before the official transfer from pediatric to adult care is final, patients and families can have a “get acquainted” visit with the adult provider that may help ease the transition process.
Key resources and top tips
Below, I have summarized my top tips for managing the transition process. I have also highlighted some key resources with more information on transition, and toolkits to help families and providers through this process. The most important thing to keep in mind is that transition is a process. Start early, involve the entire team, and stay motivated!