New Program Eases Transition From Pediatric to Adult Care

Joslin Diabetes Center launched the new program that supports young adults with diabetes.

Joslin Diabetes Center main entrance

Joslin Diabetes Center main entrance

Joslin Diabetes Center, a nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School, which provides innovative solutions in diabetes prevention, research, education, and care introduced Massachusetts’s first “transition care” program in January. The program aims to support young adults who are either newly diagnosed with diabetes or transitioning from pediatric to adult care.

According to Joslin, approximately 1 in 300 college students are diagnosed with diabetes by the time they enroll in school. That can make the transition from high school to college even more of a challenge. With the right support, life at college with diabetes doesn’t have to be difficult. That’s where the new program comes into play.

Joslin representatives say that the young adult population often delays making appointments and that puts them at risk for poor diabetes control, adverse diabetes-related outcomes, and increased post-transition diabetes hospitalizations. The new program aims to combat that by having a transitional care coordinator appointed to work with patients to make sure that they regularly schedule and attend their appointments.

“All the competing demands faced by college students can be a distraction from the management of their diabetes,” says Dr. Howard Wolpert, a senior physician at Joslin who specializes in adult diabetes. “With this program we are addressing the need of college students for additional guidance and support to help keep them on track with their diabetes during this often challenging life transition.”

Patients involved in the program also have their care coordinated by a team of endocrinologists, diabetes nurses, nutritionists, exercise psychologists, and psychologists who specialize in young adults with diabetes.

“We are thrilled to see the coordination of Joslin’s Young Adult Transition Program,” says Dr. Lori Laffel, chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section at Joslin. “After working with pediatric patients and their families for so many years, we understand the importance of a seamless transfer to adult providers for these young adults who are already juggling so many changes in their lives.”