The purpose of this study was to investigate how adolescents and adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) view preventive counseling and their transition to adult-centered care within a children's hospital. Thirty-two patients >/=16 years old diagnosed with CF were recruited from a pediatric tertiary care setting. During face-to-face interviews, patients were asked 27 structured questions and completed a 30-item self-administered questionnaire on preventive counseling by healthcare providers and on transition issues. The median age of patients was 25.5 years (range, 16-43 years); 69% of patients identified a pulmonologist as their "main doctor," even though 78% had a primary care provider. Participants felt that 13-16 years of age was the best time for them to begin spending time alone with their main doctor. Less than half of the participants recalled receiving preventive counseling during the previous 12 months, and more patients wanted to discuss issues than actually did. Qualitative data emphasized the importance of independence in making decisions in healthcare and establishing relationships with providers, and many patients did not desire to transfer care to an adult hospital. Participants identified adult-focused services such as inpatient rooms, discussion groups, work options, and social service support that would enhance care. In conclusion, the majority of adolescent/young adult patients with CF receiving care in a pediatric institution reported satisfaction with their healthcare. However, patients identified preventive issues that they desired to be more regularly addressed, starting in early adolescence, and changes in the delivery of services to enhance transition to adult-oriented care. This study underscored the understanding of the integration of transition planning into the facilitation of healthcare decision-making by the adolescent in issues of self-care, sexuality, education, and finances. Future initiatives to enhance the care of patients with CF should provide training of pulmonologists in preventive care and increased attention to helping patients utilize appropriate primary-care services during the adult years. In addition, prospective studies are needed to compare outcomes of CF patients who have transitioned and transferred to adult hospitals and those transitioning to adult-oriented services in a pediatric institution.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.