Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Assessing the impact of caring for a child with Dravet syndrome: Results of a caregiver survey

Journal title
Epilepsy & behavior : E&B
Publication year
Campbell, J. D.; Whittington, M. D.; Kim, C. H.; VanderVeen, G. R.; Knupp, K. G.; Gammaitoni, A.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to describe and quantify the impact of caring for a child with Dravet syndrome (DS) on caregivers. METHODS: We surveyed DS caregivers at a single institution with a large population of patient with DS. Survey domains included time spent/difficulty performing caregiving tasks (Oberst Caregiving Burden Scale, OCBS); caregiver health-related quality of life (EuroQoL 5D-5L, EQ-5D); and work/activity impairment (Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire, WPAI). Modified National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) questions were included to assess logistical challenges associated with coordinating medical care. RESULTS: Thirty-four primary caregivers responded, and 30/34 respondents completed the survey. From OCBS, providing transportation, personal care, and additional household tasks required the greatest caregiver time commitment; arranging for child care, communication, and managing behavioral problems presented the greatest difficulty. EuroQoL 5D-5L domains with the greatest impact on caregivers (0=none, 5=unable/extreme) were anxiety/depression (70% of respondents>/=slight problems, 34%>/=moderate) and discomfort/pain (57% of respondents>/=slight problems, 23%>/=moderate). The mean EQ-5D general health visual analogue scale (VAS) score (0=death; 100=perfect health) was 67 (range, 11-94). Respondents who scored <65 were two- to fourfold more likely to report >/=moderate time spent and difficulty managing child behavior problems and assisting with walking, suggesting that children with DS with high degrees of motor or neurodevelopmental problems have an especially high impact on caregiver health. On the WPAI, 26% of caregivers missed >1day of work in the previous week, with 43% reporting substantial impact (>/=6, scale=1-10) on work productivity; 65% reported switching jobs, quitting jobs, or losing a job due to caregiving responsibilities. National Health Interview Survey responses indicated logistical burdens beyond the home; 50% of caregivers made >/=10 outpatient visits in the past year with their child with DS. CONCLUSIONS: Caring for patients with DS exerts physical, emotional, and time burdens on caregivers. Supportive services for DS families are identified to highlight an unmet need for DS treatments.

Research abstracts