Increasing Hydroxyurea Adherence for Pediatric Patients With Sickle Cell Anemia

Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Health Services


Sue Bell


Sickle cell disease is a disabling chronic autosomal recessive blood disease characterized by abnormal hemoglobin, pain crises, and frequent emergency department visits. Adherence to hydroxyurea therapy has been shown to improve these patient outcomes. Guided by the theory of comfort, the purpose of this project was to determine if an educational intervention would increase adherence to hydroxyurea therapy in pediatric patients between 2 and 17 years of age recruited from an urban university hospital hematology clinic. The RE-AIM model was used to support the translation of evidence and the change process. An educational video produced by AFLAC was viewed by patients' parents 4 weeks after enrollment into this pretest/posttest design project. A total of 22 African-American parent participants completed the 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale at baseline and again at 8 weeks to assess hydroxyurea adherence. The Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults tool was used to assess parents' health learning needs; all parents met the adequate literacy level at baseline. Using t test statistics, no statistically significant differences were found pretest to posttest on the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale scores, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and fetal hemoglobin percentages. Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests showed no significant differences in emergency room visits nor number of pain crisis. Although no significant changes emerged in short-term hematologic findings, emergency room visits, and pain crises, social change in the health care setting was promoted by confirming parents were able to understand education and a high level of hydroxyurea adherence was maintained; literature indicated that long-term adherence to hydroxyurea limits severe attacks.

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