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Perspective

The transition of young adults with type 1 diabetes to adult care: challenges and approaches

Ann Poynten, Helen Woodhead

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© AZMANJAKA/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

The transition of young adults with type 1 diabetes from paediatric to adult care can be challenging for young adults and their families, especially for those living in rural and remote areas. GPs play an important role in supporting this transition to adult specialist endocrine care. 

Key Points

  • The transition of young adults with type 1 diabetes to adult care comes at a time when many changes are occurring in a young adult’s life (e.g. leaving school, further study, moving away from home).
  • Transition preparation should start at least one year before the planned transfer date, but preferably from diagnosis for older children.
  • Complications of diabetes should be screened for before and during the transition.
  • Sexual health and preconception planning are issues that often arise contemporaneously with the transition period.
  • Specific referrals for adult care should be provided, as well as practical education on the differences between paediatric and adult healthcare services and the logistics of attending an adult clinic. It is helpful to make the first appointment.
  • Factors identified as disrupting transition to adult care are lack of preparation in the paediatric service, the cost of adult care, difficulty accessing appropriate specialty care and other life stressors.

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© AZMANJAKA/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
© AZMANJAKA/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY