Objective Evaluation of current attitudes of ISPAD members toward transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care.
Methodology A questionnaire (repeated after 4 months) was mailed to ISPAD members (n = 578) investigating current approaches regarding transition of adolescents with diabetes to adult care.
Results 92 questionnaires were returned, (16% of the membership; 36 different countries). Although 76% of the responders report that youth are followed in their pediatric clinics at least until 18 yrs, 36% clinics are seeing adults beyond the age of 25 yrs. Conversely in 30% of the centers, children <16 yrs are followed by adult diabetologists/internists. While the majority of responders propose to begin preparing youth for transition to adult care at least 1 year prior to the actual transfer, structured transition exists in +/−50% of the centres, targeting youth between 16 and 25 years of age. Effectiveness of transition is monitored in 34% of the centers; only two centers have evaluated their drop-out rates (6% vs 10–20% respectively).
Conclusion As adolescence comes to an end and youth leave home to go to college or enter the workforce, they experience many competing priorities and are at high risk for dropping out of health care. Consequently they miss important opportunities for complication screening, early detection and treatment of problems. More than ever teens require access to uninterrupted, comprehensive and accessible care. According to this survey among ISPAD members (36 countries), the actual situation for transitioning teens is far from optimal and requires major improvement.