Transition, in the context of diabetes care, traditionally refers to the “purposeful, planned movement of adolescents and young adults...from child-centred to adult orientated health care systems”. (Blum et al. 1993)
Adolescence can be a difficult time for many young people as they learn to manage new-found freedom and autonomy in a confusing world of new experiences. If you add management of a complicated medical condition into this equation, it is easy to see how healthcare can be placed into the “too hard – I’ll do that later” basket.
At around 15 years of age, many paediatric hospitals and healthcare services begin to transition patients across to adult healthcare.
For some, this transition is a smooth and seamless transfer from the supported care of their paediatric specialist team and parents/carers, to more self-motivated engagement with independent healthcare providers. For others, the journey is fraught with difficulties and hurdles which can leave the young person thinking “Do they even remember who I am?” or “Do they even care what I think?”
Unfortunately, this type of experience often leads to young people “dropping out” of the healthcare system, leaving them to fend for themselves with their diabetes management and risking long-term irreversible complications.
Youth Transition Survey
Young people with diabetes are being overlooked by the Australian healthcare system with almost half of 18 to 24-year-olds not getting the support they need to begin adult care, a new study shows.
The Youth Transition Survey asked young people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes about their experience in moving from child to adult healthcare.
The study found that 71 per cent of the 14 to 17-year-olds surveyed and almost half of the 18-24-year-olds had never discussed adult services with their child-focused healthcare team.
Read the full report (PDF).
Youth Transition Pack
An exciting project funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing through an NDSS Strategic Development Grant and administered by Diabetes Australia Limited is helping to tackle this issue once and for all.
The project’s objective is to develop a nationally consistent youth transition pack to be distributed to NDSS registrants aged 12 to 20 years with type 1 and 2 diabetes, assisting them to transfer from paediatric to adult health care. By standardising the resources young people receive, it is hoped the frequency of young people “dropping out” of healthcare will decrease and the long-term cost on the health care system will be significantly reduced.
Created in consultation with a Youth Transition Working Party and consumers, the pack will draw on existing resources as well as examining research and information into innovative adolescent healthcare strategies. The pack will be delivered in a manner that is accessible and inviting to young people; with plans for it to be integrated into future projects.
If you would like further information on this project contact the project coordinator – Jane Cheney at Diabetes Australia – Vic on 03 8648 1830.