6 ADA Guidelines to Transition Diabetes Patients into Adulthood

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
This post was written by Jessica Fornarotto

To ensure continuity of care for patients with diabetes transitioning from pediatric to adult providers, the ADA has outlined six strategies to effectively transition patients between 18 and 30 years of age.

Despite existing guidelines, physicians are often confronted by many obstacles in the management of diabetes during this time period, when young people experience going to college or beginning to support themselves. The ADA guidelines include:

  • At least one year before the transfer to adult healthcare providers, pediatric providers should collaborate with the patient and family to prepare for the upcoming transition in healthcare delivery.
  • The pediatric provider should provide the patient and adult provider with a written summary including an active problem list, medication list, diabetes self-care skills evaluation, summary of past glycemic control and diabetes-related comorbidities, summary of any mental health problems and referrals during pediatric care.
  • Pediatric and adult care providers should both offer support and referrals to resources that may assist the patient in case there is a loss of consistent healthcare or in case they become lost to follow-up.
  • To prevent acute and long-term complications of diabetes, adherence to and consistent use of glucose-lowering medications must be emphasized.
  • Emerging adults with diabetes should be assessed and treated for disordered eating behaviors and affective disorders, with referral as needed to a mental health provider familiar with diabetes care.
  • Pediatric and adult clinicians should discuss with emerging adults how diabetes may affect birth control, pregnancy planning and risks, prevention of sexually transmitted illnesses, alcohol and drug use, smoking and driving.
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