Young Adults With Sickle Cell Disease: Challenges With Transition to Adult Health Care

Maureen Varty

Lori L. Popejoy

transition to adult care, young adult, continuity of care, self-management
CJON 2020, 24(4), 451-454. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.451-454

Because life expectancy has increased greatly in the past few decades for individuals living with sickle cell disease (SCD), transition to the adult healthcare setting has become a necessity to continue disease management. Transition for young adults with SCD is associated with declining health outcomes, including increased acute care use and mortality. Nurses can assist young adults with SCD who are at risk after transition by assessing the young adult’s ability to carry out disease self-management, facilitating the supportive role of the family, and recognizing young adults who may have difficulty accessing healthcare resources and providers.


  • Transition to adult health care for young adults with SCD poses many risks and burdens.
  • Not all young adults with SCD are adequately prepared to care for their disease and independently engage with healthcare providers. 
  • To address barriers, nurses can assess the young adult’s readiness to independently perform disease self-management and access healthcare resources.
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