Researchers Collecting Data to Ease Transition from Pediatric to Adult Diabetes Care
OKLAHOMA CITY – Researchers at Harold Hamm Diabetes Center are collecting data from a unique program intended to ease the transition from pediatric to adult care for young patients with diabetes. The Harold Hamm Diabetes Center Transition Program offers a unique option for young adults as they transition from pediatric to adult care providers. In addition, it allows researchers a rare insight into what could lead to better self-management of the disease in younger patients.
“Working with young adults to better manage their healthcare can be a difficult task,” said Joni Beck, co-principle investigator for the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center Transition Program. “If we can better determine the specific issues and challenges these young adults face then we can effectively create intervention strategies aimed to assist this particular population.”
Most clinical studies of young adults with diabetes describe the obstacles they face but stop short of offering practical, proven solutions for helping them overcome these obstacles. The preliminary results of the transition study, presented at the 73rd Scientific Session of the American Diabetes Association in Chicago this past summer, indicate that education provided to the caregivers of young adults with diabetes might be the best strategy for intervention.
“Each person who participates in this study is asked to complete periodic surveys to measure their understanding of the diabetes and assess other components of managing diabetes,” Beck said. “For those under the age of 18, we also ask their parents or caregivers to participate in some of the surveys. We’ve found a correlation between how well the parents or caregivers understand diabetes and the young adult’s A1c, or average blood-sugar level.” An A1c level is the primary method for measuring diabetes control and good control helps prevent diabetes-related complications.
“We are collecting more data to better understand the needs of young adults and the caregivers who support them and also to determine what other factors need to be studied in order to create effective prevention and treatment strategies,” said Dr. James Lane, director of adult clinical programs at Harold Hamm Diabetes Center.
In addition to collecting information about young adults and their health needs, the transition program offers financial assistance for diabetes care to those who qualify. The financial burden for treating diabetes can be overwhelming. According to the American Diabetes Association, medical expenditures for people with diabetes are 2.3 times higher than for those without diabetes.
“This program provides a service for those who need it and helps further medical research, effectively impacting millions of people around the world suffering from diabetes,” said Lane. “This is why research activities like this transition program are important to the health needs of our society.”
Participants in the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center Transition Program receive compensation for their time.