The care of adolescents with complex chronic illness needs to be developmentally appropriate to encourage adherence, knowledge retention and self-management. There has been an increase in the number of adolescents requiring long-term or lifelong anticoagulation therapy, related to either an underlying illness or idiopathic deep vein thrombosis. The burden of anticoagulant therapy, the associated risks and the required lifestyle changes can significantly impact on psychosocial well-being in the adolescent patient. This review identifies issues pertinent to adolescent anticoagulation management and discusses strategies to support optimal management. The HEEADSSS (Home, Education and employment, Eating, Activities with peers, Drugs, Sexual activity, Suicide and depression, and Safety) framework was used to provide guidance in undertaking a psychosocial assessment of adolescents requiring anticoagulant therapy in conjunction with a structured education strategy. Adolescent anticoagulant management strategies employing developmentally appropriate assessment and education will likely result in improved therapeutic outcomes for the patient and potentially facilitate transition to adult-based care.
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