Using Qualitative Perspectives of Adolescents With Sickle Cell Disease and Caregivers to Develop Healthcare Transition Programming

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Abstract

Youth with sickle cell disease (SCD) are living longer, requiring transition from pediatric to adult health care. Transition programs have been created to improve transition readiness and help patients take responsibility for their health. The aim of this study was to explore the usefulness of current transition materials and identify unmet transition needs from the perspective of adolescents with sickle cell disease (SCD) and caregivers to refine transition programming and interventions. Focus groups were conducted with 14 adolescents with SCD (Mean age = 14.6 years, SD = 1.9) and 20 caregivers (Mean age = 43.2 years, SD = 9.3) to gather perspectives about transition to adult care, current transition program materials and recommendations for future programming. Four themes emerged: (a) transition skills and knowledge needs, (b) change in health care responsibility, (c) concerns with adult SCD care, and (d) useful transition readiness strategies and resources. The findings of this study were used to develop Web based educational modules, experiential transition skills learning, and an adolescent and caregiver hematology support group. Findings highlight the need to conduct periodic readiness assessments, provide opportunities and scaffolding to learn skills based on readiness level, and help build social support networks to encourage and facilitate learning.

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