Impact of gastrostomy tube feeding on the quality of life of carers of children with cerebral palsy
Vernon-Roberts A., Grant HW., Eltumi M., Alder N., Jenkinson C.
The aim of this prospective cohort study was to evaluate the impact of gastrostomy tube feeding on the quality of life of carers of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Short-Form 36 version II was used to measure quality of life in carers of 57 Caucasian children with CP (28 females, 29 males; median age 4y 4mo, range 5mo to 17y 3mo) six and 12 months after insertion of a gastrostomy tube. Responses were calibrated against a normative dataset (Oxford Healthy Life Survey III). Six months after gastrostomy feeding was started, a substantial rise in mean domain scores for mental health, role limitations due to emotional problems, physical functioning, social functioning, and energy/vitality were observed. At 12 months after gastrostomy placement, carers reported significant improvements in social functioning, mental health, energy/vitality (mean increase >9.8 points; p<0.03), and in general health perception (mean increase 6.35 points; p=0.045) compared with results ar baseline. Moreover, the values obtained for these domains at 12 months were not significantly different from the normal reference standard. Carers reported a significant reduction in feeding times, increased ease of drug administration, and reduced concern about their child's nutritional status. This study has demonstrated a significant, measurable improvement in the quality of life of carers after insertion of a gastrostomy feeding tube.