St. Jude offers state-of-the-art care and treatment to children and teens with sickle cell disease. But, once they turn 18, it’s time for them to find doctors who treat adults. Teens with this disorder need to learn how to make their own treatment decisions. They must learn how to obtain the adult care they need.
Through the St. Jude-Methodist Sickle Cell Disease Transition Clinic, St. Jude sickle cell patients learn how to handle their own care. This clinic is a partnership with Methodist University Hospital in Memphis. Patients take their St. Jude team along as they move into adult treatment.
Why is Transition Care Important?
Many patients with sickle cell disease become overwhelmed with treatment options once they age out of pediatric care. Some patients may not understand the decisions they need to make. This can affect their treatment and may cause them to abandon care. A smooth transition to adult care may help patients avoid these issues and live long, healthy lives.
In 2014, St. Jude began the Sickle Cell Clinical Research and Intervention Program (SCCRIP). This program aims to help us better understand the disease’s long-term effects and develop better therapies. SCCRIP follows the health of young adults as they enter and remain in adult care. The program’s aim is to prevent organ deterioration and decrease the risk of death. We will use details from this program to develop better therapies and prevent continuing problems.
Through programs like the St. Jude-Methodist Sickle Cell Disease Transition clinic, we will guide these patients and improve their long-term health.
How Does the Transition Clinic Work?
- Starting at age 12, our patients prepare to move to adult care. They receive education, transition skill-building and planning.
- When the transfer to adult care is near, a transition case manager will invite the patient and family on a tour of the adult sickle cell treatment centers in Memphis. The patient and family can get a sense of what adult care will look like.
- The patient chooses an adult care center and hematologist. Then the transition case manager helps set up appointments and transfer medical records.
During the first few adult-care visits, the patient is seen by both a pediatric and an adult hematologist. Members of the St. Jude team take part in the patient’s adult care. This helps patients feel more comfortable during the transition.
Throughout the process, health care providers at both institutions educate patients about the disease, possible health issues and treatment options. Patients can take responsibility for their health. In time, they move toward more independent care.
Sickle Cell Transition Program Team
Associate Member, St. Jude Faculty
Assistant Member, St. Jude Faculty
Jennifer Longoria, PhD
- Instructor, St. Jude Faculty
Paul Lavoie, PA-C
- Physician Assistant
Yvonne Carroll, JD, RN
- Director, Hematology Patient Services
- Nurse Practitioner
- Manager, Hemoglobin Newborn Screen Referrals
Sheila M. Anderson, RN
- Transition Case Manager
Audrey Cole, MSN, RN, CPON
- Case Manager
Shyranda Jones, LCSW
- Social Worker II
- Pharmacist, Clinical Staff
- Pharmacist, Clinical Staff
Tacha Hamilton, PhD
- Coordinator, Hematology Academic Programs