Patients with chronic health needs are expected to gradually assume responsibility for health maintenance behavior as they move toward adulthood.
We sought to evaluate the influence of factors such as age, duration of disease, and gender by examining the self-reported health behaviors of adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease.
Dr Julia van Groningen evaluated that confidential voluntary surveys were administered to all inflammatory bowel disease outpatients over age 10 during a 4-month period.
Questions addressed responsibility for health behaviors such as medication, provider visits, and communication.
Patient participation during doctor visits was also assessed.
|35% of 19–21-year-olds scheduled appointments|
|Inflammatory Bowel Diseases|
Of 358 patients approached, 294 returned completed surveys.
The team found that respondents were 51% male, and 69% had Crohn's disease.
Patients took increasingly active roles, but by ages 19–21 only 45% ordered medication refills, and 50% picked up medication from pharmacy.
The research team observed that only 35% of 19–21-year-olds scheduled appointments, and 30% contacted providers between visits if problems arose.
Most patients could answer provider questions but fewer asked questions of the provider.
Males were less likely to order their own prescription refills or prepare questions.
Duration of disease did not change skill acquisition.
Dr van Groningen concludes, "Adolescents develop independence in managing their inflammatory bowel disease slowly, and many patients 18 years are still assisted by parents."
"Focus on specific skill acquisition may help patients with self-management skills expected in adult healthcare."