Transitioning to Adult Care
Transition is the process by which adolescent patients and their families prepare to move from pediatric cystic fibrosis care to adult cystic fibrosis care. It is understood that most young patients and their families have grown to rely on their pediatric providers over the years. Most pediatric providers grow attached to their patients and families as well. However, all cystic fibrosis care providers know that the issues facing a 10-year-old person with cystic fibrosis are often vastly different than those facing a 30-year-old person with cystic fibrosis. To provide the best and most appropriate care to patients 18 and older, we have developed a transition process to educate and acclimate patients and their families to the adult cystic fibrosis team.
Shortly after the patient's 12th birthday, a letter is sent to both the pre-teen and his/her family. This reintroduces the concept of transition. Over the next few years, the patient will gain more and more responsibility for his or her own well being. The teen will get to meet the members of the adult cystic fibrosis team throughout the transition process. Typically, by the patient's 19th birthday, he or she will have transferred his/her care to the adult cystic fibrosis team.
Throughout transition there will be time to discuss issues that are important to teens and young adults who may be impacted by cystic fibrosis. Issues like school plans, employment, dating, drug and alcohol use, insurance, sexuality and reproduction, strategies for healthy self care, and medical concerns related to cystic fibrosis are all important to recognize during the transition years.
Transition prepares the patient and family for change. However, even an anticipated change can cause anxiety. Over time, patients and families will get to know and rely on the adult team. Patients view the move to adult care as an opportunity to explore all realistic options.
There is an important message in the transition to adult care: There is hope for the future! We are always willing to talk with you about any questions you may have regarding transition. Please feel free to contact us.
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