Adolescent Medicine is leading a growing multi-specialty project to assist teenagers/young adults in transitioning from parent-directed pediatric care to patient-managed adult care. While this is an important step for all patients, it is especially important for those with a chronic illness or special health care need.
Transitioning involves moving from medical care provided by pediatricians/pediatric specialists to doctors/specialists who take care of adults. Transition does not require all patients to leave Texas Children's Hospital. However, it is important to know that a pediatric setting cannot take care of all of the medical needs of an adult.
Regardless of where adult medical care is received, all teens/young adults need to learn skills necessary to maneuver in the adult medical world. Some examples of knowledge and skills for young adults and teens include:
- Knowing their medical history
- Being able to find a specialist on their insurance
- Making appointments
- Filling and refilling prescriptions
- Doing their own treatments
- Taking their own medications
The transition project is being pilot-tested through September 2011 in an IRB-approved protocol to assess the process of implementation. It is funded by the DSHS Title V Transition Project. The next step will be broader implementation and transition planning throughout Texas Children's Hospital and other medical resources. Presently, the following medical services are collaborating in the study:
- Allergy & Immunology & Rheumatology
- Sickle Cell
- Special Needs
- Spina Bifida
Adolescent Medicine and Sports Medicine sponsors an annual Chronic Illness and Disability: Transition from Pediatric to Adult-based Care Transition Conference in the Texas Medical Center. The topics and speakers are of wide interest to youth and young adults with special health care needs and their parents/caregivers and healthcare providers.