The agony of the child with complexity: Exploring the psychological impact on parents caring for children with complex healthcare needs

Title

The agony of the child with complexity: Exploring the psychological impact on parents caring for children with complex healthcare needs

Creator

Crothers E; Bradbury M; Lewis S; O'Gorman C; Murphy A M

Publisher

Archives of Disease in Childhood

Date

2019

Subject

Medline; child; female; human; male; qualitative research; conference abstract; caregiver; systematic review; meta analysis; publication; social support; depression; sample size; disease exacerbation; North America; health care need; Ireland; medical leave; mental stress; parental stress; prevention; psychological well-being; social isolation

Description

Aims: Medical advances and improved neonatal care have led to increased survival of children with complex healthcare needs. The aim of this literature review was to explore what is known about the psychological impact on parents of caring for children with complex healthcare needs across North America and Europe, and more specifically within Ireland. Method(s): A comprehensive search of the literature published within the last ten years was performed using PubMed and PyschINFO databases. Ten papers, consisting of qualitative studies and meta-analyses, which varied in sample size and methodology, were selected for detailed review. Result(s): Recent publications emphasise that caring for a child with complex care needs has a significant negative impact on the psychological wellbeing of parents. Several qualitative studies have shown that caregivers of children with life-limiting illness are up to twice as likely to report higher levels of parenting stress and depressive symptoms than parents of healthy children. The literature suggests that women experience greater parenting stress in caring for severely ill children than men, with one study noting an increase in maternal sick leave for psychological distress. However, women were more likely to report being the predominant caregiver, which could account for this discrepancy. Social isolation was a recurring factor contributing to the perceived burden of stress experienced by caregivers. Similar themes were evident across North America and Europe publications. We noted a paucity of research in the Irish context. Conclusion(s): Further research is needed to evaluate the psychological impact of caring for a child with complex healthcare needs and to guide management and prevention of parental stress and psychological illness, particularly in Ireland. Additional studies are needed to determine if increased social support reduces psychological stress and to investigate the effects of parental stress on disease progression in children with complex heathcare needs.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

October 2019 List

Collection

Citation

Crothers E; Bradbury M; Lewis S; O'Gorman C; Murphy A M, “The agony of the child with complexity: Exploring the psychological impact on parents caring for children with complex healthcare needs,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 6, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/16505.

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