Transition From Pediatric to Adult Neurologic Care

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Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW

With advances in medical care, the number of youths surviving with medically complex conditions has been steadily increasing. Inadequate transition planning and execution can lead to gaps in care, unexpected emergency department visits, and an increase in health care costs and patient/caregiver anxiety. Many barriers that prevent adequate transition have been identified, including insufficient time or staff to provide transition services, inadequate reimbursement, resistance from patients and caregivers, and a dearth of accepting adult providers.

RECENT FINDINGS

Transition is distinct from transfer of care. Transition is a planned multistage process, while transfer refers to a point in time where responsibility of care shifts from one provider to another. Key differences exist between the pediatric and adult models of care. A successful transition should empower the patient to understand and take responsibility in managing his or her condition; foster independent functioning to the extent that is possible; integrate educational, legal, and community resources in the care plan; and identify appropriate adult health care providers at the time of transfer. Different models have been proposed to streamline the transition process, with improvement in patients' knowledge of their condition, self-efficacy, and confidence.

SUMMARY

Neurologists have a key role in supporting their patients in the transition to adulthood. This article reviews basic tenets and provides tools to assist in navigating the complex transition process. These tenets are intended to improve quality of care and decrease clinician burden and remain an active area of research.

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