Many young Americans with asthma aren’t sufficiently prepared by their childhood care providers to transition to adult care, a small new study shows.
It’s important for youth with asthma to understand their asthma-related medical needs will likely change as they age, and they may need to switch providers, experts say.
“Teens who are about to go off to college are at an ideal stage to discuss transition issues,” study co-author Dr. William Anderson said in an American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) news release.
“They are entering a new era, possibly in a different part of the country, and may be making their own health care decisions for the first time,” he said. “Introducing concepts about self-care in terms of what will be changing in their lives and what they need to take responsibility for can help them control their asthma symptoms as they begin their journey into adulthood.”
For this study, the researchers surveyed 46 young adults with asthma, 18 to 30 years old. Nineteen were recruited from a pediatric hospital and 27 were either students or staff at a university.
“Most participants did not receive sufficient transition preparation from their pediatric asthma providers, no matter who was providing their asthma care,” lead author Dr. Suzanne Ngo said in the release.
Those from the pediatric hospital received care from an asthma specialist, while the majority of university respondents got their asthma care from a general health provider.
Half of the participants did not recall their childhood asthma provider offering guidance about transitioning care — including asthma self-management — as they moved into adulthood.
And only 17% said they received information about an adult asthma provider to whom they should transfer their care, the study found.
Asthma can’t be cured but it can be controlled with targeted and specialized asthma plans, according to the ACAAI.
The study findings were scheduled to be presented Saturday at the ACAAI’s annual scientific meeting, in New Orleans. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on asthma.
SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Nov. 5, 2021