Aims: To determine if a transition support programme for young adults with diabetes could maintain attendance at a specialist clinic, improve diabetes control and reduce acute hospital admissions with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in 15-25-year-olds with Type 1 diabetes.
Methods: A transition coordinator/diabetes educator arranged booking and rebooking of appointments for a young adult diabetes clinic based in an adult hospital between July 2001 and March 2006. An after-hours phone support service was initiated. Data collected included source of referral, frequency of clinic attendance and HbA1c at each visit. Numbers of admissions and readmissions with DKA, length of stay and HbA1c on admission were recorded.
Results: One hundred and ninety-one young adults were referred. HbA1c at initial referral was 9.3 +/- 2.17%. HbA1c significantly improved to 8.8 +/- 1.9% (P < 0.001) after a median of five visits with a statistically significant fall in HbA1c of 0.13% per visit (P = 0.01). The greatest improvements were seen in those with starting HbA1c > 11% (-2.5 +/- 2.3%, P < 0.001). Eighty-two percent had attended appointments in the last 6 months. There was a significant reduction in DKA admissions falling by 1/3 (P = 0.05), and in readmissions a significant reduction in length of stay (-3.6 days, P = 0.02), over 3.5 years.
Conclusions: If young adults are appropriately supported in adult services, clinic attendance is maintained, diabetes control is improved and hospital admission rates with DKA are reduced. The cost savings from reduced admissions covered the costs of the programme.