Purpose: To address the unique challenges experienced by young people aged 16-25 post heart transplantation, by developing and implementing an effective holistic support system to improve long-term health and well being outcomes. Methods: The journey to becoming an independent adult can be both an exciting and overwhelming period of life, consisting at times of poor decision making and risk taking behaviours. For those managing chronic conditions such as heart transplantation, these potential issues can lead to serious complications, including death. With the right interventions, supports and educative systems in place, these issues could be minimised. Results: In order to improve engagement and compliance we have created a supportive framework focusing on the unique needs of young adults and their families which includes: • A Transition pathway from paediatric to adult care - the Alfred team attends and participates in The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) clinic for the nominated patients due to be transitioned. • A Young Person's Clinic - to develop a familiar and supportive medical and nursing relationship with patients and their carers. • The development of a peer-support network - where patients can identify with others their own age living with similar health/life experiences. Conclusion: The transition pathway from the RCH to the Alfred Hospital enables young adults to meet and develop a connection with the Alfred team in partnership with their paediatric team prior to transfer, reducing anxiety regarding transferring to adult care. First held in 2013 and still a work in progress, the Young Persons Clinic continues to evolve in order to review approximately 35 patients. Held quarterly, consisting of approximately 25 young people per clinic, we have developed strategies to improve the comprehensive on going medical and psychosocial support required to help reduce rates of rejection and non compliance in young adults post heart transplantation.
Minio, G. (2016). The Challenges Associated with the Ongoing Management of Heart Transplantation in Young Adults, Including Transitioning from Paediatric to Adult Care. The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 35(4), S345. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healun.2016.01.988