The transition from pediatric to adult transplant care is a high risk period for non-adherence and poor health outcomes. This article describes a quality improvement initiative integrated into a pediatric liver transplant program that focused on improving outcomes following the transfer from pediatric to adult liver transplant care. Using improvement science methodology, we evaluated the impact of our center's transition readiness skills (TRS) program by conducting a chart review of 45 pediatric liver transplant recipients who transferred to adult transplant care. Medication adherence, clinic attendance, and health status variables were examined for the year pre-transfer and first year post-transfer. 19 recipients transferred without participating in the TRS program (control group) and 26 recipients participated in the program prior to transferring to the adult clinic (TRS group). The TRS group was significantly older at the time of transfer, more adherent with medications, and more likely to attend their first adult clinic visit compared to the control group. Among the TRS group, better adolescent and parent regimen knowledge were associated with greater adherence to post-transfer clinic appointments. Transition planning should focus on the gradual shift in responsibility for health management tasks, including clinic attendance, from parent to adolescent. There may be support for extending transition support for at least 1 year post-transfer to promote adherence.
Keywords: Adherence; Pediatrics; Self-management; Transition; Transplant.