We previously surveyed cystic fibrosis (CF) center directors and adult patients with CF to assess their perceptions regarding transition from a pediatric to an adult setting. An important finding in those studies was a lack of standard programs for transfer of young adults with CF from pediatric to adult care settings. Patients with CF typically receive care from clinics utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, suggesting that every member of the CF team can impact the transition process. Our purpose in this study was to gain an appreciation for various team members' perspectives on transition. An Internet survey was offered to all CF centers across the country to be completed by team members, excluding physicians. We received 291 completed surveys, nearly half completed by nurses, but our respondents included social workers, nutritionists, respiratory therapists, and a few team members with other training. Nearly half of the respondents work for both pediatric and adult teams. The majority of respondents (71.8%) reported that their adult patients receive care from an internist in a separate adult program, but nearly 20% reported that a pediatrician follows their adult patients. A minority thought that age (37.4% of respondents), marriage (16.2%), and pregnancy (27.1%) were criteria for transfer, though most (86.2%) suggested that patients should be transferred by age 21 years. Criteria precluding transfer included patient/family resistance (45%), disease severity (34%), and developmental delay (31.3%). It was uncommon (11.4%) for an introduction to the concept of transition at the time of diagnosis. Over one-half of patients did not meet the adult team until time of transfer. Team members' perceptions of patients' concerns were similar to what we had previously measured in physicians, again far greater than what we have measured in patients themselves. In many ways, what we have measured here in team members reflects what we have reported by physicians, demonstrating slow development of standard transition programs and an overestimate of patients' concerns regarding transition. These differences may impede the successful transition of patients into an adult program. It is clear from this study that team members have an interest in and opinions on transition, and are likely play a vital role in the transition process. Standard programs of transition should be developed, and team members should be engaged in that process.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.