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Handling the transition of adolescents with diabetes: participant observations and interviews with care providers in paediatric and adult diabetes outpatient clinics

Keywords: adolescents , Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 , transition , grounded theory

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore how care providers handle the transition process from paediatric to adult diabetes outpatient clinic and to describe their perception of adolescents' needs during this process. Methods: Participant observations of patient visits to nurses and physicians and 10 semi-structured interviews with care providers in two paediatric and two adult clinics in Sweden were carried out. Data were analysed using the constant comparative method developed in the grounded theory tradition. Results: The integrated framework developed in the analysis consists of subcategories, process categories and a core phenomenon. The preparation phase showed in this study that preparing transition requires modified strategies. The transition phase implied transferring responsibility and changing care relations while the evaluation phase revealed that care providers are creating mutual understanding through appraisal. All categories are related to the generated core phenomenon: enabling integration through professional meetings. The way care providers construct meeting arenas has a crucial impact on the possibility to bridge uncertainty, insufficient knowledge, routines and strategies. Conclusions: The way participating clinics handle transition greatly influences the process. Professional meetings appeared to be of vital importance to enable the building of bridges between paediatric and adult diabetes care in this study.

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