Adolescents with IBD: the importance of structured transition care

J Crohns Colitis. 2011 Dec;5(6):509-19. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2011.03.015. Epub 2011 May 4.


Children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) tend to have more extensive and severe disease than adults. IBD presenting in childhood interferes with growth, education and employment as well as psychosocial and sexual development, frequently delaying adolescent developmental milestones. Transition, in the context of healthcare, is the purposeful, planned movement of adolescents and young adults with chronic physical and medical conditions to adult-orientated healthcare systems. Although no single model has been widely adopted and despite a paucity of data, recent guidelines from Europe and the USA propose the formation of specialist transition clinics for adolescent patients with IBD. In order to develop a successful transition service, the barriers that arise because of differences between paediatric and adult IBD services need to be identified. In this article, we review the concept of transitional care for adolescents with IBD, highlighting the important differences in not only, paediatric and adult IBD, but also paediatric and adult IBD services. We consider the consequences of failed transition, and describe the limited published data reporting different approaches to transition in IBD, before outlining our own approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / psychology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Radiography
  • Transition to Adult Care / organization & administration*
  • Transition to Adult Care / standards