Development and feasibility of a home-based education model for families of children with sickle cell disease

Catherine Hoyt Drazen, Regina Abel, Terianne Lindsey, Allison A. King

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16 Scopus citations


Background: Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) commonly have cognitive deficits, even among toddlers. Much medical literature emphasizes disease-based factors to account for these deficits. However, the social environment plays a large role in child development. To address the specific needs of early childhood, a monthly hospital-based education program was initiated to educate parents about child development. Education sessions were poorly attended (20-25%) and deemed unsuccessful. This study describes the development and implementation of a home-based education service to teach parents about SCD, developmental milestones and positive parenting techniques. Methods. This was a prospective, single-arm intervention to study the feasibility of a home-based caregiver education program for families with infants and toddlers with SCD. Parents of children aged 0-3 years with SCD from one Midwestern hospital were approached to participate in a home-based program. The program followed the Born to Learn™ curriculum provided through the Parents as Teachers™ National Center. Reminder calls or texts were provided the day before each visit. Results of the first twenty-six months of the program are presented. Results: A total of 62% (56 of 91) of families approached agreed to participate; all were African American. The majority of caregivers were single mothers with a high school education or less and whose children had Medicaid for health coverage. The phenotypes of SCD represented in this sample were similar to those in the general SCD population. Over 26 months, 39 families received at least one home visit. Parents of infants (younger than 8 months) were more likely to participate in the home-based education program than parents of older children, (Fisher's exact test, p <.001). Conclusions: For participating families, home-based visits were a feasible method for reinforcing clinic education. About 43% of eligible families participated in the education, a two-fold increase in the poor attendance (20%) for a previous hospital-based program. A home visitation program for parents of infants with SCD could offer an effective approach to helping these children overcome adverse environmental conditions that are compounded by the complexities of a chronic health condition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 5 2014


  • Development
  • Early intervention
  • House calls
  • Parent education
  • Sickle cell disease


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