A pilot randomized controlled trial of a post-discharge program to support emerging adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus transition from pediatric to adult care

Pediatr Diabetes. 2015 Dec;16(8):634-9. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12229. Epub 2014 Nov 11.


Aims: There is a paucity of randomized controlled trials (RCT) examining transition from pediatric to adult care in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). This study aimed to determine if transition in T1DM is more effective with a comprehensive transition program (CTP) compared with standard clinical practice (SCP).

Methods: This RCT recruited as young people left pediatric diabetes services. The trial co-ordinator provided CTP participants with standardized telephone communication support at week 1, and 3, 6, and 12 months post-discharge from pediatric care. SCP participants were briefly contacted at 6 and 12 months post-discharge to confirm transfer status; they received no other post-discharge contact as per usual practice. At 12 months, the primary outcomes were engagement and retention in the adult service and secondary outcomes included hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), diabetes-related hospitalizations, microvascular complication appearance, and global self-worth.

Results: Most CTP participants (11/14) and all SCP (12/12) participants (P = 0.2) transferred to an adult diabetes service; the median time to transfer was 14-15 wk. Overall, participants' frequency of adult diabetes service visits was sub-optimal but their retention in adult care was high. The only group difference was a higher HbA1c at baseline and follow-up in the CTP group. However, a general linear model found that follow-up HbA1c increased by 1.2% for each percentage increase in baseline HbA1c [95% confidence interval (0.4, 1.9; P = 0.01)], independent of treatment group.

Conclusions: Despite the challenges in recruiting adequate numbers, these findings provide valuable insights for future T1DM transition RCTs that are needed to build a more solid evidence-base in this field.

Keywords: pediatrics; randomized trial; transition to adult care; type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Transition to Adult Care*
  • Young Adult