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Attitudes of rheumatology practitioners toward transition and transfer from pediatric to adult healthcare

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Abstract

We explored the attitudes of rheumatology practitioners toward the transition and transfer of adolescents with a rheumatic disorder from pediatric to adult healthcare. Rheumatology practitioners attending the Pediatric Rheumatology European Society (PRES) Congress in 2010 were asked to complete the Questionnaire about Attitudes of Rheumatology Practitioners Toward Transfer and Transition (QUARTT), an instrument that was specifically devised for this study. Overall, 138 healthcare professionals participated (response rate, 55.2%). Participants believed that when patients with an active rheumatic disorder reach adulthood, they should receive medical follow-up from an adult rheumatologist (87%). Only 19% thought that patients should remain under the surveillance of a pediatric rheumatologist. Several initiating factors for transfer were marked as important: readiness of the patient according to the caregiver (62%), age (61%), and psychosocial maturity (49%). A transfer meeting with the patient (76%), a referral letter (73%), and a medical transfer file (64%) were the most preferred transfer communication methods. Joint outpatient clinics, phone calls, and transfer meetings without the patient were considered to be less useful. Pediatric (94%) or adult (83%) rheumatologists, parents (81%), and nurse specialists (74%) were stated as the most important active participants in the transition process. Responders favored essential transition components because young people should be assisted on how to become independent (96%), how to deal with fatigue (91%), and how to establish medication adherence (90%). In conclusion, this study emphasized the importance of transfer to specialized rheumatology care of adolescents with an active rheumatic disease and highlighted transfer initiators and transfer communication tools.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a scientific grant from the King Baudouin Foundation (‘Fonds voor wetenschappelijk reumaonderzoek KBVR’), a clinical research grant of the University Hospitals Leuven and an unrestricted grant of Roche.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Deborah Hilderson.

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Hilderson, D., Moons, P., Westhovens, R. et al. Attitudes of rheumatology practitioners toward transition and transfer from pediatric to adult healthcare. Rheumatol Int 32, 3887–3896 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-011-2273-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-011-2273-4

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