Original Article

Lessons Learned from Building a Pediatric-to-Adult Sickle Cell Transition Program

Authors: Wally R. Smith, MD, India Y. Sisler, MD, Shirley Johnson, BA, Thokozeni J. Lipato, MD, Jennifer S. Newlin, PA, Zakiya S. Owens, PA, Alma M. Morgan, MEd, Marsha J. Treadwell, PhD, Kathryn Polak, MS


Objective: More effective transitions and transfers of young people with sickle cell disease (SCD) into the adult healthcare setting is a focus of both primary care and specialty care medical organizations. Effective transition and transfer requires six core elements: establishing a policy, tracking progress, administering transition readiness assessments, planning for adult care, transferring to adult care, and integrating into an adult practice. We developed a program using these six core elements. The objective of our report was to assess the development and implementation of this program.

Methods: We used the six core elements to develop and implement a program at Virginia Commonwealth University for children and adolescents with SCD to transition to adult health care.

Results: We assessed individuals’ differences by age and grade, their independent living skills, their feelings about moving to adult care; tallied and analyzed several assessment scales; and assessed transfer success and patient retention.

Conclusions: The principles and lessons we learned in developing and implementing this program over 5 years, accompanied by caring, flexible, and dedicated care team members, often can overcome even severe barriers to care transitions.
Posted in: Hematology10

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