External Research

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Optimize the Care of Transitioning Adolescents and Young Adults with CKD

Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with CKD or end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) have unique medical, dental, psychosocial, neurocognitive, and academic needs and require close interdisciplinary collaboration to optimize their care. The etiology of CKD in AYAs is diverse compared to older adults. With their continuously improved survival, AYAs must start preparation for health-care transition (HCT) from pediatric- to adult-focused health care in the pediatric setting and it must continue at the adult-focused setting, given that their brain maturation and self-management skill acquisition occur until their mid-20s. While the growth and physical maturation of most visible body parts occur before 18 years of age, the prefrontal cortex of the brain, where reasoning, impulse control, and other higher executive functions reside, matures around 25 years of age. The HCT process must be monitored using patient- and caregiver-measuring tools to guide interventions. The HCT process becomes more complex when patients and/or caregivers have a language barrier, different cultural beliefs, or lower literacy levels. In this article, we discuss the unique comorbidities of pediatriconset CKD/ESKD, provide information for a planned HCT preparation, and suggest interdisciplinary coordination as well as cultural and literacy-appropriate activities to achieve optimal patient outcomes.

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