A pilot randomized controlled trial of a post-discharge program to support emerging adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus transition from pediatric to adult care

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There is a paucity of randomized controlled trials (RCT) examining transition from pediatric to adult care in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). This study aimed to determine if transition in T1DM is more effective with a comprehensive transition program (CTP) compared with standard clinical practice (SCP).


This RCT recruited as young people left pediatric diabetes services. The trial co-ordinator provided CTP participants with standardized telephone communication support at week 1, and 3, 6, and 12 months post-discharge from pediatric care. SCP participants were briefly contacted at 6 and 12 months post-discharge to confirm transfer status; they received no other post-discharge contact as per usual practice. At 12 months, the primary outcomes were engagement and retention in the adult service and secondary outcomes included hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), diabetes-related hospitalizations, microvascular complication appearance, and global self-worth.


Most CTP participants (11/14) and all SCP (12/12) participants (P = 0.2) transferred to an adult diabetes service; the median time to transfer was 14–15 wk. Overall, participants' frequency of adult diabetes service visits was sub-optimal but their retention in adult care was high. The only group difference was a higher HbA1c at baseline and follow-up in the CTP group. However, a general linear model found that follow-up HbA1c increased by 1.2% for each percentage increase in baseline HbA1c [95% confidence interval (0.4, 1.9; P = 0.01)], independent of treatment group.


Despite the challenges in recruiting adequate numbers, these findings provide valuable insights for future T1DM transition RCTs that are needed to build a more solid evidence-base in this field.

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