Objectives: To define the transitional care workload of a multicentre cohort of adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) including disease, self-advocacy and vocational issues prior to the implementation of a transitional care programme.
Methods: Data were collected using questionnaires completed by senior clinicians, patients and parents in 10 UK paediatric rheumatology centres. Entry criteria for patients included a confirmed diagnosis of JIA for at least 6 months and an age of 11, 14 or 17 yr.
Results: Of 359 families invited to participate, 308 (85.79%) adolescents with JIA and 303 parents/guardians accepted. Of these, 19.5% had persistent oligoarthritis. Despite their imminent transfer to adult care, ongoing transitional issues were identified in the 17-yr-old cohort: 55.8% were still seeing the rheumatologists with their parent, 20% were not self-medicating, 68.5% had not had intra-articular injections under local anaesthetic and 14% had received no careers counselling. This age group also had significant disease-related issues; 54.6% had moderate to severe functional disability, 67.5% were still on disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and, as a group, they had significantly greater pain than younger patients.
Conclusions: This study has objectively identified the transitional care workload facing paediatric and adult rheumatologists in terms of disease-related, self-advocacy and vocational issues. Outcome data following the implementation of a coordinated transitional care programme are awaited.