Objective: The journey into adulthood is a critical phase of profound psychological and social change, especially for children with long-term care needs, including those with Intellectual Disability (ID).
In this paper, we aim to describe the clinical picture of patients with mild to profound ID during the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Methods: We explored the prevalence of all comorbidities in 53 patients with mild to profound ID before and after transition. We collected information on the services taking care of the person at the time of follow up and about the actual occupation, if any.
Results: Out of the whole sample of patients, 79% were in touch with an adult health service after transition and about one fifth required care from more than one institution. 81% were currently employed in centres managed by health services. The distribution of main diagnosis and comorbidities both changed (χ2(1, n=42)=116.7; p<.001 and χ2 (1, n=42)=267.4; p<.001, respectively) after the transition to adulthood. Transition to adulthood was characterized by the emergence, as main diagnosis, of psychiatric disorders, as well as by a slight increase of frequencies of comorbidities.
Conclusions: After transition from childhood to adulthood a change in epidemiology was observed. This may reflect a clinical evolution or a discontinuity in the use of diagnostic labels between paediatric and adult committed services. We propose suggestions for better management of the transition phase.
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