Transition Readiness and Awareness for Cardiac Kids (TRACK) Program
Individuals born with congenital heart disease require continued cardiac care throughout adulthood. The process of moving from pediatric to adult care is called “transition.” Transition is about much more than getting a new doctor. It’s a process during which adolescents and young adults learn more about their heart disease and how to take control of their cardiovascular care.
Transition is part of becoming an adult. In the same way that your teenager will learn to rely less on their caregivers in other aspects of life, they must also learn to become independent in their healthcare. Learning about their heart disease and understanding their medical history is the first step. The final step will be to move their cardiac care to an adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) specialist.
Transition can begin as early as 16, but the timing is different for each patient. This is a decision your family will make with your teenager’s cardiologist. Most young adults transition their care between the ages of 18 and 22. Some patients may choose to transition prior to attending college or moving away from home, and others may wait until they have completed their education.
Transition can be challenging for adolescents and young adults, as well as for their parents. The goal of the TRACK program is to make this process less stressful and to ensure successful transition. The TRACK program hopes to empower people with education, support and mentorship.
The Transition Clinic is a virtual (telemedicine) clinic for adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease who will require lifelong cardiology care. Patients and families will meet virtually with members of the transition team to discuss the process of transition and focus on important skills needed to thrive as an adult with congenital heart disease. One or several visits may be necessary to prepare patients for successful transition.
The Transition Conference is an in-person event for adolescents with congenital heart disease and their families. This day-long conference focuses on education about congenital heart disease and the process of transitioning to adult care. It is also a time to meet with other patients who have congenital heart disease to form new friendships and bonds.
Hearts in Transition (HIT) Program
Hearts in Transition is a volunteer program which assists pediatric patients as they prepare to transition to adult cardiovascular care. Pediatric patients meet virtually with adult patients who provide insight and personal experiences into the transition process. Meetings are held at least once during a year or as many times as needed to support a successful transition from pediatric to adult care. The goal of the program is to provide pediatric patients with a mentor with whom they can discuss any concerns about transitioning. Eligible pediatric patients should be between the ages of 16-20 and have a confirmed congenital diagnosis.
If your teenager is interested in participating in this program, please call 215-349-5756 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Release forms must be completed to participate.