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The Physical Health of Caregivers of Children With Life-Limiting Conditions: A Systematic Review

Hartley, J; Bluebond-Langner, M; Candy, B; Downie, J; Henderson, EM; (2021) The Physical Health of Caregivers of Children With Life-Limiting Conditions: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics , Article e202001442. 10.1542/peds.2020-014423. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

CONTEXT: Parental caregiving for a child with a life-limiting condition (LLC) is complex physical and mental work. The impact of this caregiving on parents' physical health is unknown. OBJECTIVES: (1) To review existing evidence on the physical health of parents caring for a child with a LLC and (2) to determine how physical health of parents is measured. DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature were searched. STUDY SELECTION: Peer-reviewed articles were included if they reported primary data on the physical health of a caregiver of a child with a LLC. Studies were excluded if they described only the caregiver's mental health or if the caregivers were bereaved at the time of data collection. DATA EXTRACTION: Of 69 335 unique citations, 81 studies were included in the review. RESULTS: Caregiver health was negatively impacted in 84% of studies. Pain and sleep disturbance were the most common problems. Ways of measuring the physical health of caregiver varied widely. We found an absence of in-depth explorations of the social and economic contexts, which could potentially mitigate the impact of caregiving. Furthermore, we find health interventions tailored to this group remain largely unexplored. LIMITATIONS: Studies were heterogenous in methodology, making comparisons of results across studies difficult. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the need for improving access to interventions aimed at improving physical health in this population. The rate of health-seeking behaviors, preventive health care access and screening for health conditions is understudied and represent important directions for further research.

Type: Article
Title: The Physical Health of Caregivers of Children With Life-Limiting Conditions: A Systematic Review
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2020-014423
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2020-014423
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10131841
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