Up to 25% of IBD patients are diagnosed before the age 18. A sizable proportion of young adults and adolescents with IBD (and other chronic medical conditions) are lost to follow up during the transition process. The process of transitioning responsibility for care from the guardian to the patient is not easy but can be facilitated by ensuring that the following systems are in place:
- A close relationship between a pediatric and adult gastroenterologist
- A shared medical record system so that all records are available during the transition process
- A single joint outpatient office visit, or a visit with an adult physician prior to the actual transfer of care
- A joint IBD conference attended by pediatric and adult gastroenterologists to discuss complex cases
- A navigator (a nurse practitioner or an office manager shared by the pediatric and adult practices) who directs and helps the family through the transition process
- Social support and adult physician awareness in areas of reproductive health, substance abuse and the effects of disease on development
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to modify coping strategies
The Newton Wellesley IBD center ensures that these strategies are in place during the transition process of IBD patients. We start by seeing adolescents and young adults together with their parents and slowly transition to establishing an independent relationship with the patient and seeing him/her without parental supervision. Our team provides psychological support services and non-traditional approaches, such as acupuncture, to help in the adaptation process.
To learn more about IBD transitional care or to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, contact us today.