Dramatic increases in survival to adulthood for persons born with congenital heart disease (CHD) have led rise to a corresponding need to provide age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate care across the lifespan. Health care transition is a multidimensional process that ideally begins in early adolescence in the pediatric setting and continues through young adulthood with input from both pediatric and adult CHD providers. Preparation for transition includes the fostering of adolescents' knowledge of their CHD and of self-management and self-advocacy skills needed for lifelong management of chronic disease. Transfer is the event in time when a patient's care and ownership of health records is taken over by the adult health care team; this is just one element of the broader transition process. Transfer typically occurs by age 18 throughout much of Canada. Successful transition is a shared responsibility, requiring engaged pediatric and adult providers and partnership with both young adults and their parents, all of whom may struggle with this process. An interdisciplinary approach to transition is recommended, given that health care transition is a complex process that occurs within the broader context of young adults' lives. This review summarizes existing evidence regarding transition and transfer, offers perspectives from multiple stakeholders, and proposes a transition curriculum of development of CHD education and self-management and self-advocacy skills. Specific recommendations to improve implementation of transition and transfer care within the Canadian context are provided. This review sheds light on the current capacity and challenges of adult CHD providers and proposes directions to move this field forward.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine