The Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh (RCPE) has recently developed guidelines for Scottish Doctors for treating childhood survivors of serious illnesses.
A “purposeful, planned process that addresses the medical, psychosocial and educational/vocational needs of adolescents…” has been put into action because of the increased rate of Children surviving illness. Today it is claimed ninety percent of children with choric illnesses such as cancer and cystic fibrosis will reach adulthood, due to significant medical advances in recent years.
This new programme which is known as ‘Think Transition’ has been defined by the college as
On top of this new research has revelled that in Scotland alone there are an estimated two thousand five hundred survivors of childhood cancer. As well as cystic fibrous sufferers now living well into their thirties and as they grow older they are thought to suffer from long term complications such as infertility, growth impairment as well as heart and lung disease.
Because of this The Royal College of Physicians feels this new initiative is very important as it helps young people deal with the physical strain which can occur when reaching adulthood while suffering from a painful and exhausting illness. As professor Chris Kelner, chair of the body’s transition medicine steering group, recently said ” …the new guidance will enable adult physicians to better understand the medical needs of young adults with chronic diseases”
As well as helping young adults with their health care, the program also hopes to bridge the gap between pediatric and adult health care while also providing support for more emotional problems young survivors may be having. They hope to do this by supplying continual support throughout the transition through puberty, by helping with educational and employment needs which may be affected by their illnesses. Cara Doran, of the cystic fibrous trust recently states that this is one of the most important factors, saying that bridging the gap between these services will allow for a steadier transition to adult care with the patient feeling both “confident and knowledgeable” about their illness and the services they are entitled to.