Improving the Transition from Pediatric to Adult Diabetes Healthcare: A Literature Review

Can J Diabetes. 2015 Dec;39(6):520-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2015.08.003. Epub 2015 Oct 20.


Effective transition to adult care is a significant component of an emerging adult's diabetes care. Poor transition places them at risk for disengagement with the health care system and for poor diabetes-related outcomes. The purpose of this paper was to review the literature to date on existing methods of transition care delivery for emerging adults with diabetes. We conducted a literature review using MEDLINE via OvidSP and searching the grey literature. Papers published in English between January 1, 2000 and March 25, 2015 that evaluated transition care programs for emerging adults with diabetes were included. 16 original studies, 1 study protocol and 1 technical brief describing transition programs were reviewed. Common components of care included transition care coordination, young adult clinics, transition preparation, familiarity with adult health care providers and support groups. Overall, when emerging adults are supported during the transition period, clinic attendance and glycemic control can be maintained or improved, and diabetes-related complications reduced. Despite widespread support in the literature for the need for structured transition care delivery, methodologically strong research evaluating transition care services remains limited. The literature to date encompasses a variety of care models that lack consistency in outcome measurements as well as lacking frameworks describing the interventions, which impedes comparison across studies. Further research, using a consistent framework for transition care program design, delivery and evaluation as well as reporting of outcomes, is needed to inform how best to deliver transition care services to this vulnerable population.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; diabète sucré; emerging adulthood; soins de transition; transition care; âge adulte émergent.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Pediatrics
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Transition to Adult Care / standards*