- Identify the key aspects of transition;
- Bring stakeholders together;
- Identify transitional needs;
- Identify and provide resources;
- Create an audit and evaluation process;
- Decide who will hand off care of these patients when they are admitted to the hospital (the hospitalist or the disease-specific specialist);
- Create an up-to-date medical summary that is portable and accessible. It should include important historic information, such as diagnostic data, procedures, operations, and medications;
- Upon patient discharge, include specific instructions on who to call if the patient develops a problem after leaving the hospital;
- Create a working group in your area that represents pediatric and adult hospitalists to examine transition issues in the hospitalized patient; and
- Facilitate effective communication between patients and their families, primary care physicians and specialists; and
- Know when to transfer care to a center with more expertise in caring for specific conditions.
Just as every patient is different and every patient’s circumstances are unique, every transition needs to be individualized. “It’s hard to set policy,” says Dr. Pickering. Open, direct communication, specific discharge instructions, an up-to-date medical summary and knowledge of the adult resources in your area can make any transition a success. TH
Keri Losavio regularly writes for “Pediatric Special Section.”
- Adolescent Health Transition Project, Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD) at the University of Washington, Seattle. Available at http://depts.washington.edu/healthtr/Providers/intro.htm. Last accessed January 16, 2006.
- Bufi PL. Cystic fibrosis: therapeutic options for co-management. Available at www.thorne.com/altmedrev/fulltext/cystic.html. Last accessed January 16, 2006.
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: 2004 Patient Registry Report. Available at www.cff.org/living_with_cf/. Last accessed Jan. 26, 2006
- Newacheck PW, Taylor WR. Childhood chronic illness: prevalence, severity, and impact. Am J Pub Health. 1992;82(3):364-371.
- Committee on Children with Disabilities and Committee on Adolescence, American Academy of Pediatrics. Transition of care provided for adolescents with special health care needs. Pediatrics. 1996;98(6):1203–1206.
Pediatric Special Section
In the Literature
By Mary Ann Queen, MD, and Amita Amonker, MD
Utilization of a Clinical Pathway Improves Care for Bronchiolitis
Cheney J, Barber S, Altamirano L, et al. A Clinical Pathway for Bronchiolitis is Effective in Reducing Readmission Rates. J Pediatr. 2005;147(5):622-626.
Bronchiolitis is the most common respiratory illness in infants that results in hospitalization. Many hospitals have developed clinical pathways to assist clinicians in managing this common infection; however, the effectiveness of such pathways has not been fully studied. Of those clinical practice guidelines analyzed, varying results have been identified.
To determine the effectiveness of a bronchiolitis pathway, this study compared infants managed prospectively using a pathway protocol with a retrospective analysis of infants managed without a pathway. Infants from a tertiary care children’s hospital and three regional hospitals were enrolled prospectively from May 2000 to August 2001. (One must note this study was completed in Australia, hence the difference from the typical Northern Hemisphere winter months.) The historical control group was admitted between May 1998 and August 1999 at the same four institutions. Two-hundred-twenty-nine patients admitted with bronchiolitis were treated using the pathway protocol. These patients were compared with 207 randomly selected control patients who were admitted prior to the institution of the bronchiolitis pathway. All patients were less than 12 months of age with their first episode of wheezing necessitating hospitalization.