Affiliations: [a] Department of Pediatrics, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA | [b] Department of Surgery, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
Corresponding author: David Wood, 325 N. State of Franklin, Johnson City, TN 37604, USA. Tel.: +1 423 439 6222; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: PURPOSE: In order to transition to adulthood and independence, youth with spina bifida must assume significant self-management responsibilities including monitoring for shunt malfunction, maintaining intact skin in areas that are insensate, and maintaining proper bowel and bladder function. Validated measures of specific spina bifida self-management skills are lacking and this hampers the ability of clinical personnel to support successful transition for youth with spina bifida. METHODS: We developed a self-report measure specific to SB self-management skills consistent with the framework of the Transition Readiness Assessment Questionnaire (TRAQ). To test the predictive validity of the tool we surveyed 90 youth and young adults ages 12-25 with spina bifida attending a multidisciplinary clinic participating in the National Spina Bifida Patient Registry (NSBPR). RESULTS: Adjusted for age, gender, race, insurance status and lesion level, higher scores on the TRAQ-SB (increased self-management) were negatively associated with urinary incontinence in the past month. Only lesion level, and not TRAQ-SB scores, was a significant predictor of stool incontinence and skin breakdown. CONCLUSIONS: Higher TRAQ-SB scores are negatively associated with bladder incontinence in youth with spina bifida. While stool continence and skin breakdown were not associated with TRAQ-SB scores, this relation is complex and may be obfuscated by either reporting bias or outcome measurement bias. To further refine the questionnaire and understand this relationship we need to field it prospectively in the SB network with larger samples. The TRAQ-SB questionnaire, however, does have value in the clinical setting to help promote the acquisition of specific self-management skills among youth with spina bifida.
Keywords: Health care transition, spina bifida, self-management, urinary incontinence, TRAQ