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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2015, Article ID 260807, 11 pages
Review Article

The Emerging Adult with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Challenges and Recommendations for the Adult Gastroenterologist

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Center for Psychosocial Research, Practice and Training in GI, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Received 31 October 2014; Revised 25 March 2015; Accepted 16 April 2015

Academic Editor: Vicent Hernández

Copyright © 2015 Itishree Trivedi and Laurie Keefer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Incidence of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is rising. Adult gastroenterologists are seeing increasing numbers of young adults with IBD, a subpopulation with unique needs and challenges that can impair their readiness to thrive in an adult healthcare system. Most adult gastroenterologists might not have the training or resources to address these needs. “Emerging adulthood” is a useful developmental lens through which this group can be studied. With complex disease phenotype and specific concerns of medication side effects and reproductive health, compounded by challenges of geographical and social flux and lack of adequate health insurance, emerging adults with IBD (EAI) are at risk of disrupted care with lack of continuity. Lessons learned from structured healthcare transition process from pediatric to adult services can be applied towards challenges in ongoing care of this population in the adult healthcare system. This paper provides an overview of the challenges in caring for the post transition EAI from the perspective of adult gastroenterologists and offers a checklist of provider and patient skills that enable effective care. This paper discusses the system-based challenges in care provision and search for meaningful patient-oriented outcomes and presents a conceptual model of determinants of continuity of care in this unique population.