New program helps young adults with diabetes transition to adult care

Health care providers can play a critical role in guiding young adults with diabetes and their families so they are equipped to make good decisions about their health.

For teens and young adults with diabetes and their families, the transition to adulthood can be both exciting and stressful. Some parents find it hard to transition management of their child’s care when for so long they have been used to managing their child’s chronic health condition. As they become adults, young people with diabetes need to be equipped to manage big changes in their health care.

The Wendy Novak Diabetes Center’s Transition to Adult Diabetes (TAD) Program addresses the gap in support that many young adults with diabetes experience. The program currently is available to Wendy Novak Diabetes Center patients ages 16 to 26. The goal is to help these patients gain confidence and prepare to successfully manage diabetes on their own.

The program offers education and tools to guide a successful transition, based on input from patients who have transitioned to adult care as well as evidence-based practices.

Making the transition to adult care

As they mature, teens begin to rely less on their parents for diabetes care and more on themselves. This period in their development comes with unique concerns. Health care providers can play a critical role in guiding young adults with diabetes and their families so they are equipped to make good decisions about their health and gradually develop more autonomy.

Some issues teens and young adults with diabetes need to learn about before they can successfully transition to adulthood include:

  • Changes to privacy laws and patient rights once a person turns age 18
  • Health insurance changes
  • College life or living on their own
  • Managing adult relationships
  • Alcohol and substance use
  • Employment considerations
  • Diabetes management in the adult world
  • Screening tests
  • Parents gradually “letting go” of their child’s diabetes care

“It’s not as simple as just picking out a new doctor online and showing up at their office,” said Lisal J. Folsom, M.D., M.S. pediatric and adult endocrinologist, director of the TAD Program and medical director of adult diabetes for Norton Healthcare. “The goal of our transition program is to empower and build confidence in order to set our patients up for success. We will also work with their new adult diabetes provider to create the connections needed to ensure their transition is the positive experience it needs to be.”

Norton Children’s Endocrinology

Our team recognizes the unique needs of each patient to support and empower young adults to manage their diabetes care when they are ready.

Call (502) 588-3400

Request an appointment online

Structure and personalized care from the TAD Program

Enrolled patients work with a certified diabetes care and education specialist to complete a series of educational modules. After the patient completes the TAD Program and is at least age 18, they are eligible to transition to an adult endocrinologist. However, they are not required to make that change immediately. Each young adult works with their diabetes team to plan the transfer to an adult diabetes provider when the time is right for them, whether it is after they graduate college or before their first work experience. The TAD Program is the first step in the Norton Healthcare Diabetes Care Continuum, which will take the next step toward ensuring patients who complete the TAD Program can smoothly and effectively transition to adult diabetes care.

The Wendy Novak Diabetes Center Transition to Adult Diabetes (TAD) Program is made possible thanks to a donation from the estate of Phillip Sandlin and Children’s Miracle Network partners. Learn more about ways to help the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation.