Transitional Care in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Abstract: Transitional care is an organized effort to provide pediatric patients with the tools and resources they need to assume personal responsibility for their medical care while facilitating their transfer from a pediatrician to an adult practitioner. Since inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is usually chronic and up to 25% of IBD patients are diagnosed before the age of 18 years, transitional care is an important consideration for adolescent and young adult patients. The importance of transitional care for chronic diseases that begin in childhood has been recognized in a number of published recommendations. However, most of these recommendations arise from intuitive reasoning, as physicians lack information regarding the need for transitional care, optimal delivery protocols, and the efficacy of transition programs. Even fewer studies have been published regarding transitional care in IBD. Current guidelines stress the importance of providing patients with educational resources to help them develop the skills they need to manage their care as independent adults, introducing the concept of transfer to adult care in advance of the actual transfer, and developing routes of communication to facilitate the transfer from pediatric to adult care providers. Future studies should aim to elucidate which programs are effective and how they should be implemented.

Millennium Medical Publishing, Inc