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New Findings Reveal Psychological Impact Of Child Illness On Families

New Findings Reveal Psychological Impact Of Child Illness On Families

Child Illness can have a devastating effect on families.

A new survey of over 2,300 parents commissioned by The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, lays bare the psychological impact of waiting for diagnosis and treatment of their children, with nearly half of parents questioned stating that it affected the quality of their lives.

Of those affected, 71% said they had feelings of anxiety and 64% complained of a lack of sleep. Over a fifth even noted that it had impacted on their relationship with their partner and a fifth of them said it distracted them from work.

The research also highlights that waiting for a diagnosis or treatment also affected their child beyond just the physical with nearly half of all parents highlighting that their children were upset, over a third (35%) noting that they became more difficult to look after and a fifth suggesting it created childcare difficulties as they could not send their children to nursery.

The findings also reveal that despite medical advances, a child's health is still the most worrying aspect of having a child today ahead of education as a secondary concern, social development and behaviour. In fact, 68% of parents reported that their child's health worried them the most with education the primary worry for only 16% of parents.

The survey suggests too that the incidence of childhood eczema is rising significantly. Although based on self-reporting, over half (53.5%) of all parents noted that their children had suffered from the condition. Up until now it has been estimated that around 1 in 5 children in the UK suffer from eczema .

George Du Toit, a Paediatric Consultant Allergist at The Portland Hospital, comments: “Eczema has been on the increase for some time – the high rates of eczema reported in this survey reflect this. Eczema is a troublesome chronic condition which may range in severity from mild to severe. In childhood it is often associated with food allergy and may herald the start of the 'allergic march' towards the development of asthma and hay-fever. This survey confirms that childhood illness, such as allergic conditions, may have significant effects on children and their families so it's definitely worth having these assessed early on in life.”

July 2012

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