As individuals with co-morbid SMI and IDD are transitioning into adulthood, what are your recommendations about frequency of psychiatric medication management (i.e., if they have been fairly stable as preteen, but they are encountering physiological and metabolic changes and psychosocial stressors)?

Often, there is value in increasing frequency of follow-up, even if is only for monitoring and consistent contact. This can create a powerful therapeutic space with a patient as well, even without medication adjustment, to be able to engage them in conversations about their perspective about what is working or not, how they feel about this transition. Especially for clinicians who primarily function in a role of medication management, taking the opportunity to closely monitor a patient who is stable yet in a transition can meaningful impact the patient’s course. This allows us to catch any signs of de-compensation as quickly as possible, but also strengthens our alliance with this individual and helps us ensure that they’re getting the support that they need. Resources can also be enlisted during this transition, and this monitoring process enables identification of patient needs as well.

For more information on the care and treatment of transitional age youth patients with co-morbid SMI and IDD, please view this free SMI Adviser webinar: Transitional Age Youth: Caring for Comorbid Serious Mental Illness and Intellectual Developmental Disability (February 2020).

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