Increasing young people’s confidence in disease self-management could help them transition from pediatric to adult care, according to a new study.
Approximately 90% of children diagnosed with a chronic disease now live into adulthood, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
However, many young people who age out of the often nurturing and supportive pediatric health care system struggle to identify a new adult health care provider, and often lack knowledge of their health history and have trouble navigating the complex adult health care system.
To reduce avoidable hospitalizations and ensure young adults with chronic disease continue to seek care into adulthood, researchers identified factors that could positively influence health outcomes after transitioning to the adult health care system.
“Our objective is to close the gap between the pediatric and adult heath care systems by making the transition as seamless, comfortable, and welcoming as possible,” says Maureen Varty, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing.
“By working with young adults to help them access care, we can better monitor chronic diseases and prevent complications that could lead to hospitalizations down the road.”
Assisting adolescents with basic health care tasks like identifying a provider, scheduling an appointment, filling a prescription, understanding their health history, and differentiating among various insurance policies will help them become more self-sufficient as they age and become independent adults, Varty says.
“It’s very common for young adults to not seek out health care on their own because they don’t see the value in it,” Varty says. “However, routine care is extremely important because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
“By engaging youth earlier in the health care process, we can boost their confidence by giving them the tools they need to be successful later on and live their lives to the fullest extent possible.”
The study appears in the Western Journal of Nursing Research. The National Institutes of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health supported the work. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agency.
Source: University of Missouri