Introduction: The outcomes of different types of transitions of young people with chronic diseases have been poorly investigated.
Objective: To evaluate and compare a structured transition from the paediatric diabetes services (PDS) into the adult diabetic services (ADS) with an unstructured one.
Design: We retrospectively investigated 62 adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes discharged from the PDS from 1 January 1994 to 31 December 2004. Thirty-two patients (group A) were transferred to the ADS of the same hospital with an unstructured method (letter) and 30 patients after a structured transfer planned with adult physicians (group B). We analysed the date of the first admission in ADS, the glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), the clinic attendance rate in PDS and in the first year in ADS, and a phone questionnaire on the transition experience.
Results: The duration of the transfer was longer in A than in B with a lack of medical assistance during the unstructured transition (P < 0.001). At the first visit in ADS, before any medical intervention, HbA1c was improved in B compared to the last in PDS (P < 0.01), and had a trend in worsening in A. After 1 year in the ADS there was a better clinical attendance, and a lower HbA1c in B than in A (P < 0.05). All the subjects of group B reported a favourable opinion for the structured transition (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: The transition process plays an important role in diabetic care and a structured plan is mandatory to avoid to lose the patients and to get worse their health.