Transition programs in cystic fibrosis centers: perceptions of pediatric and adult program directors

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2001 Jun;31(6):443-50. doi: 10.1002/ppul.1073.


There is a growing population of adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) and a need for development of adult CF programs. Recommendations for transfer of patients to an adult program include a transition program. Our goal was to assess the current status of transition programs in US CF centers. In addition, we sought to determine the problems related to the transfer of patients to adult programs as perceived by CF center program directors. A survey was sent in 1998 to 110 pediatric and 44 adult program directors at CF centers approved by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), with a response rate of 65.5% and 72.7%, respectively: 22.2% of pediatric centers reported having a non-CFF-approved adult program, and 38.9% had no specific adult program. About one fifth of pediatric centers cited lack of an adult CF physician as an impediment to establishing an adult program. Age (82% of programs; mean, 18.5 years), but not marriage (17.1%) or pregnancy (24.8%), was used as a criterion for transfer. Criteria precluding transfer included patient/family resistance (51.4%), disease severity (50.5%), and developmental delay (46.7%). The concept of transfer is introduced to the patient and family at the time of diagnosis in a minority (14%) of programs. Over one half of the patients did not meet the adult team until the time of transfer. Pediatricians reported higher perceived parent, patient, pediatric staff, and adult staff concerns about transition issues than did adult program directors. We conclude that there is a lack of standardized programs for transfer of CF patients from a pediatric to an adult care setting, and that there are differences between pediatric and adult program directors' perceptions of concerns that CF patients, their families, and the medical teams have about transfer. These differences may impede the successful transition of patients into an adult program.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Child
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Pediatrics
  • Referral and Consultation