A multidisciplinary approach to improving transition readiness in pediatric liver transplant recipients

Pediatr Transplant. 2020 Sep 30;e13839. doi: 10.1111/petr.13839. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The Six Core Elements of Transition have been advocated to guide transition, but little is published about their use with liver transplant patients. We started a liver transplant transition program in August 2015 using quality improvement (QI) methods and by linking the Six Core Elements of Transition to process measures. Eligible patients completed baseline transition readiness assessments (Readiness for Transition Questionnaire, RTQ), interviews with a psychologist, received focused education, and completed follow-up RTQs before transfer to adult care. Our QI goal was to improve RTQ scores by 20% prior to transfer to adult care. We also assessed continuity of care, tacrolimus levels, rejection, and retransplantation as balancing measures. Of the 24 patients who completed the transition program and were transferred to adult care, RTQ scores were available for 11 patients. Overall RTQ scores improved from 23.7 to 30.5 (+28.7%, P = .009) prior to transfer. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of patients were seen by adult transplant hepatology within 6 months, and one patient was lost to follow-up after the first adult visit. Tacrolimus-level standard deviations were <2.0 in 45% of patients in pediatric care and 72% of patients in adult care. Three patients had undergone immunosuppression withdrawal in pediatric care, with one restarted on immunosuppression prior to transfer to adult care due to late acute rejection. The Six Core Elements of Transition can be translated into patient- and system-level transition milestones to serve as potential quality metrics in the implementation of transition programs.

Keywords: liver transplant; outcome; pediatric; transition.