That too few youth with special health care needs make the transition to adult-oriented health care successfully may be due, in part, to lack of readiness to transfer care. There is a lack of theoretical models to guide development and implementation of evidence-based guidelines, assessments, and interventions to improve transition readiness.
To further validate the Social-ecological Model of Adolescent and Young Adult Readiness to Transition (SMART) via feedback from stakeholders (patients, parents, and providers) from a medically diverse population in need of life-long follow-up care, survivors of childhood cancer.
Mixed-methods participatory research design.
A large Mid-Atlantic children’s hospital.
Adolescent and young adult survivors of childhood cancer (n = 14), parents (n = 18), and pediatric providers (n = 10).
Patients and parents participated in focus groups; providers participated in individual semi-structured interviews.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Validity of SMART was assessed 3 ways: (1) ratings on importance of SMART components for transition readiness using a 5-point scale (0-4; ratings >2 support validity), (2) nominations of 3 “most important” components, and (3) directed content analysis of focus group/interview transcripts.
Qualitative data supported the validity of SMART, with minor modifications to definitions of components. Quantitative ratings met criteria for validity; stakeholders endorsed all components of SMART as important for transition. No additional SMART variables were suggested by stakeholders and the “most important” components varied by stakeholders, thus supporting the comprehensiveness of SMART and need to involve multiple perspectives.
Conclusions and Relevance
SMART represents a comprehensive and empirically validated framework for transition research and program planning, supported by survivors of childhood cancer, parents, and pediatric providers. Future research should validate SMART among other populations with special health care needs.