The Staging Transition for Every Patient (STEP) Program helps young patients with complex and chronic health conditions move from pediatric care at Children’s of Alabama hospital to adult care at UAB Medicine. Started in September 2020, the program includes a primary care clinic for patients 18 and older that provides medical care and makes referrals to specialists, as needed. The goal is to prevent interruptions in medical care and support services, such as physical therapy, social workers, nutrition, counseling, and emergency planning.
The program also works with adolescent patients age 14 and older, to begin preparing them for adult health care and making medical decisions. This preparation is designed to help them set health priorities, establish goals, and become more independent. The program also works with adolescent patients and their families to help determine the age to transfer to adult care, which usually is age 18-21.
Youths legally become adults at age 19, and at that point we cannot discuss the patient’s personal health information with family members without his/her consent. However, we understand and respect that many young adult patients choose to continue involving their families in health care decisions. If the patient’s condition prevents him/her from making health care decisions, we encourage parents/caregivers to consider options for supported decision-making (i.e. guardianship) prior to the patient turning 19, and we will discuss this in detail during your clinic visit.
If your child is 18 or older and ready for the STEP Program, please call 205.801.7474 for an appointment.
The STEP Program works with patients who have serious health conditions that in the past often shortened their lifespans, such as cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, and sickle cell disease. Thanks to advances in treatment, many such patients are now living well into adulthood. These advances created a need for services such as the STEP Program, which helps transition patients into adult care and manage their medical conditions.
UAB Medicine’s STEP Program is the first formal program of its kind in Alabama and the surrounding region. This program ensures that patients are matched with primary care physicians who can manage their conditions, because not all primary care physicians are experienced in treating chronic diseases that started in childhood.
We are committed to assisting with this transfer process, and we work with patients to help them develop the skills needed to take responsibility for their own health when they become adults. This includes learning how to make appointments, how to get medications from the pharmacy, how to build independence, and much more.
We look forward to working with you to assist with any transition needs.