Because so many children with chronic diseases are surviving into adulthood, the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics are encourage the development of transitional care programs to support families through this process.
Transition health care is the purposeful movement of adolescents and young adults with chronic physical and medical conditions from child-centered to adult-oriented health care. One goal of Healthy People 2010 is to provide uninterrupted services to young adults with chronic conditions as they transition from pediatric to adult health care.
Today it’s estimated that at least 20 percent of children have a chronic physical, emotional, behavioral, or developmental condition. Congenital heart disease is just one example. Over the past three decades, the life expectancy of children with congenital heart disease has increased dramatically, with over 90 percent of such children surviving into adulthood regardless of the complexity of their heart defect. As a result today there are more adults with CHD than children.
All adults with special health care needs deserve an adult-focused cardiologist. This is to ensure that just as children receive optimal care by a doctor experienced in the care of children, adults are also entitled to benefit from receiving care from physicians trained and experienced in adult medicine. The most successful transition requires communication and collaboration among pediatric and adult cardiac specialists with their young adult patients, and families.
The life expectancy of children with complex illnesses has increased dramatically over the past three decades. As a result, many adolescents must learn to manage their own chronic diseases or disabilities when they become adults. The key to a smooth transition from childhood to adult care, experts say, is planning ahead. Read full article »