Transition Readiness in Pediatric Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Patient Survey of Self-Management Skills

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Transition may be associated with poor health outcomes, but limited data exist regarding inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Acquisition of self-management skills is believed to be important to this process. IBD-specific checklists of such skills have been developed to aid in transition, but none has been well studied or validated. This study aimed to describe self-assessment ability to perform tasks on one of these checklists and to explore the relation between patient age and disease duration.


Patients ages 10 to 21 years with IBD were recruited. An iPad survey queried the patients for self-assessment of ability to perform specific self-management tasks. Task categories included basic knowledge of IBD, doctor visits, medications and other treatments, and disease management. Associations with age and disease duration were tested with Spearman rank correlation.


A total of 67 patients (31 boys) with Crohn disease (n = 40), ulcerative colitis (n = 25), and indeterminate colitis (n = 2) participated in the study. Mean patient age was 15.8 ± 2.5 years, with median disease duration of 5 years (2 months–14 years). The proportion of patients who self-reported ability to complete a task without help increased with age for most tasks, including “telling others my diagnosis” (ρ = 0.43, P = 0.003), “telling medical staff I do not like or am having trouble following a treatment” (ρ = 0.37, P = 0.003), and “naming my medications” (ρ = 0.28, P = 0.02). No task significantly improved with disease duration.


Self-assessment of ability to perform some key tasks of transition appears to improve with age, but not with disease duration. More important, communication with the medical team did not improve with age, despite being of critical importance to functioning within an adult care model.

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