Assessment of Transition Readiness in Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease and their Caretakers. A single institution experience

Miriam Kwarteng-Siaw, Vivian Paintsil, Catherine Korankye Toboh, Amma Owusu-Ansah, Nancy Green


Aim: Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is associated with high child mortality and birth incidence in sub-Saharan Africa. Improved SCD medical services in Ghana aims to enhance survival into adulthood, creating emerging need for transition from pediatric to adult care. Anticipating transition for adolescents with SCD, we sought to understand patient and caretaker perspectives on transition to adult care within Ghana.

Materials and Methods: Structured interviews were conducted with a sample of patients ages 12-15 years and accompanying adults at Ghana’s Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Sickle Cell Clinic (KATH SCC) covering four areas: SCD medical knowledge, symptom self-management, psychosocial impact, and transition preparation.

Results: In total, 46 children (mean age 13 years) paired with 46 adults were interviewed. Most children and caretakers had some knowledge about SCD and disease management. At least one-third lacked knowledge about SCD as an inheritance condition. Youth were significantly more concerned about family burden and social stigmatization than adults. Most were unaware that patients are expected to switch care to adult medical providers by age 15 years, but were willing to transfer if needed.

Conclusions: Our clinic-based assessment at KATH SCC identified needs of adolescents and caretakers for education and counseling about disease, self-management, transition, family burden, and stigmatization. These findings provide insights into perspectives and educational gaps of families treated for SCD.  Results suggest consideration of transition planning for adolescents with SCD and their caretakers in Ghana. Generalizability of our findings and practical methods to address needs for transition within Africa remain to be tested.



Sickle cell; Transition; Adolescents; Ghana

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