The transition of the young adult with spina bifida (YASB) from pediatric to adult health care is considered a priority by organized pediatrics. There is a paucity of transition programs and related studies. Jacksonville Health and Transition Services (JaxHATS) is one such transition program in Jacksonville, Florida. This study’s purpose was to evaluate the health care access, utilization, and quality of life (QOL) of a group of YASBs who have transitioned from pediatric care.
A survey tool addressing access to health care and quality of health and life was developed based on an established survey. Records of the Spinal Defects Clinic held at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and JaxHATS Clinic were reviewed and YASBs (> 18 and < 30 years old) were identified.
Ten of the 12 invited YASBs in the Jacksonville area completed the surveys. The mean age of respondents was 25.1 years. All reported regular medical home visits, 8 with JaxHATS and 2 with other family care groups. All reported easy access to medical care and routine visits to spina bifida (SB) specialists; none reported difficulty or delays in obtaining health care. Only 2 patients required emergent care in the last year for an SB-related medical problem. Seven respondents reported very good to excellent QOL. Family, lifestyle, and environmental factors were also examined.
In this small group of YASBs with a medical home, easy access to care for medical conditions was the norm, with few individuals having recent emergency visits and almost all reporting at least a good overall QOL. Larger studies of YASBs are needed to evaluate the positive effects of medical homes on health and QOL in this population.