Dragana Lazarević1,2, Stefan Đorđević3, Dušica Novaković4, Maja Zečević5, Gordana Sušić4

1Department of Pediatric Rheumatology, Clinic of Pediatrics, University Clinical Center, Niš, Serbia
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Niš, Niš, Serbia
3Department of Cardiology and Rheumatology, University Children`s Hospital, Belgrade, Serbia
4Department of Pediatric Rheumatology, Institute of Rheumatology, Belgrade, Serbia
5Department of Pediatric Surgery, Clinic For Pediatric Surgery and Orthopedics, University Clinical Center, Niš, Serbia

Keywords: Adolescents, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, transition readiness assessment, Transition Readiness Assessment Questionnaire

Abstract

Objectives: We aimed to identify characteristics of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients associated with good self-management skills in the transition readiness process and to investigate the readiness of JIA patients and their families for the transition into the adult healthcare system.

Patients and methods: Between March 2021 and June 2021, a total of 44 JIA patients (9 males, 35 females; median age: 15.1 years; range, 12.3 to 19.3 years) admitted to the pediatric rheumatology outpatient and inpatient clinics and their parents were included. Transition Readiness Assessment Questionnaire (TRAQ) was cross-culturally adapted. The TRAQ was administered to all JIA patients and their parents at one point. Demographic and clinical data were collected.

Results: Fourteen (31.8%) of 44 JIA patients had a concomitant disease, while 10 (22.7%) of them had uveitis. Eleven (25%) of them had a family history of autoimmune diseases. In total, 21 (47.7%) of JIA patients were receiving biologics. There was a strong correlation between older age and total TRAQ scores among patients (ρ=0.799, p<0.001) and a moderate correlation between older patient age and total TRAQ scores among parents (ρ=0.522, p<0.001). Patient and parent total TRAQ scores were strongly correlated (ρ=0.653, p<0.001). There was no significant association of JIA patient characteristics (JIA disease subtypes, disease duration, gender, concomitant diseases, uveitis, family history of autoimmune diseases, number of hospitalizations, and treatment with biologics) with TRAQ scores and JIA patients' and parents' readiness for transition.

Conclusion: Transition readiness of JIA patients increases with advancing age. There is no significant difference between transition readiness for JIA patients and their parents.