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To characterise the parenting priorities of mothers and fathers of infants hospitalised with CHD and generate recommendations to support parenting during infant hospitalisation.
Through online crowdsourcing, an innovative research methodology to create an online community to serve as a research sample, 79 parents of young children with CHD responded to questions about parenting during hospitalisation via private social networking site. Responses were analysed using qualitative research methods.
Three broad themes were identified: (1) establishing a bond with my baby, (2) asserting the parental role, and (3) coping with fear and uncertainty. Parents value provider support in restoring normalcy to the parenting experience during infant hospitalisation.
Care teams can support parenting during infant hospitalisation by promoting parents’ roles as primary caretakers and decision-makers and attending to the emotional impact of infant hospitalisation on the family.
Children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at a risk for neurodevelopmental delays. Current guidelines recommend systematic evaluation and management of neurodevelopmental outcomes with referral for early intervention services. The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial represents the largest cohort of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome ever assembled. Data on life events and resource utilisation have been collected annually. We sought to determine the type and prevalence of early intervention services used from age 1 to 4 years and factors associated with utilisation of services.
Data from 14-month neurodevelopmental assessment and annual medical history forms were used. We assessed the impact of social risk and geographic differences. Fisher exact tests and logistic regression were used to evaluate associations.
Annual medical history forms were available for 302 of 314 children. Greater than half of the children (52–69%) were not receiving services at any age assessed, whereas 20–32% were receiving two or more therapies each year. Utilisation was significantly lower in year 4 (31%) compared with years 1–3 (with a range from 40 to 48%) (p<0.001). Social risk factors were not associated with the use of services at any age but there were significant geographic differences. Significant delay was reported by parents in 18–43% of children at ages 3 and 4.
Despite significant neurodevelopmental delays, early intervention service utilisation was low in this cohort. As survival has improved for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, attention must shift to strategies to optimise developmental outcomes, including enrolment in early intervention when merited.
Standardised developmental screening tools are important for the evaluation and management of developmental disorders in children with CHD; however, psychometric properties and clinical utility of screening tools, such as the Ages & Stages Questionnaires, Third Edition (ASQ-3), have not been examined in the CHD population. We hypothesised that the ASQ-3 would be clinically useful for this population.
ASQ-3 developmental classifications for 163 children with CHD at 6, 12, 24, and/or 36 months of age were compared with those obtained from concurrent developmental testing with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition.
When ASQ-3 screening failure was defined as ⩾1 SD below the normative mean, specificity (⩾81.9%) and negative predictive value (⩾81.0%) were high across ASQ-3 areas. Sensitivity was high for gross motor skills (79.6%), increased with age for communication (35.7–100%), and generally decreased with age for problem solving (73.1–50.0%). When ASQ-3 screening failure was defined as ⩾2 SD below the normative mean, specificity (⩾93.6%) and positive predictive value (⩾74.5%) were generally high across ASQ-3 areas, but sensitivity was low (31.1%) to fair (62.8%). The ASQ-3 showed improved accuracy in predicting delays over clinical risk factors alone.
The ASQ-3 appears to be a clinically useful tool for screening development in children with CHD, although its utility varied on the basis of developmental area and time point. Clinicians are encouraged to refer children scoring ⩾1 SD below the normative mean on any ASQ-3 area for formal developmental evaluation.
To examine the clinical utility of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 for identifying psychosocial concerns and improving access to psychology services within a paediatric cardiology clinic.
Parents of 561 children (aged 4–17 years) presenting for follow-up of CHD, acquired heart disease, or arrhythmia completed the Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 as part of routine care; three items assessing parental (1) concern for learning/development, (2) questions about adjustment to cardiac diagnosis, and (3) interest in discussing concerns with a behavioural healthcare specialist were added to the questionnaire. A psychologist contacted the parents by phone if they indicated interest in speaking with a behavioural healthcare specialist.
Percentages of children scoring above clinical cut-offs for externalising (10.5%), attention (8.7%), and total (9.3%) problems were similar to a “normative” primary-care sample, whereas fewer children in this study scored above the cut-off for internalising problems (7.8%; p<0.01). Sociodemographic, but not clinical, characteristics were associated with Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 scores. 17% of the parents endorsed concerns about learning/development, and 20% endorsed questions about adjustment to diagnosis. History of cardiac surgery was associated with increased concern about learning/development (p<0.01). Only 37% of the parents expressing psychosocial concerns reported interest in speaking with a psychologist.
The Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 may not be sensitive to specific difficulties experienced by this patient population. A questionnaire with greater focus on learning/development and adjustment to diagnosis may yield improved utility. Psychology integration in clinics serving high-risk cardiac patients may decrease barriers to behavioural healthcare services.
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