Children living with diabetes rely primarily on their parents or guardians, and often have myriad resources available to assist with managing their symptoms as they grow and develop. However, between the ages of 18-23, when they are ready to move on from pediatric care providers (sometimes a physician or team that they have known since their diagnosis) to adult care, it can leave a critical gap in care and guidance. At Michigan Medicine, we are working to help alleviate some of the ancillary fears and uncertainties that may be present at a critical time in their lives. Our Diabetes Transition Program team at Michigan Medicine recognizes that for this unique population of patients to live their healthiest lives independently, they must have information, resources, and support.
How Does Our Program Support This Transition?
The model designed at U-M integrates a multidisciplinary care team that provides a comprehensive orientation session, assistance making appointments, introduction to adult-care physicians who specialize in diabetes care for young adults, and help understanding the complexities of diabetes care. Patients and their families can participate in one of several group sessions per year scheduled by the program coordinator, a diabetes social worker who has extensive expertise with transition patients. Our diabetes education specialists talk them through managing diabetes care on their own for the first time. This includes navigating insurance calls, proper insulin storage, co-pays, and healthy meal choices, especially on a college campus or away from home. Patients are reminded that people around them should know about their disease and what to do in the event of an episode. For patients going away to college, there is referral assistance as well. This basic information is critical to safely and comfortably self-managing. Further, the program’s coordinator is able to identify emotional needs of the patients and find the best approach to ensuring those needs are met. This program is available and applicable for all patients with diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, or other forms of this disease).
Get Support at Michigan Medicine
As one of few structured pediatric-to-adult care transition programs for patients with diabetes, we are passionate about helping patients be successful. With diabetes, the well-known complications of poor blood sugar control, such as blindness, kidney failure, and numbness in limbs, do not usually manifest until 20-30 years after diagnosis. Our team works to see that our patients get the continuity of care needed to not fall through the cracks and experience a major health crisis years later.
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