Impact of caregiver burden on health-related quality of life and family functioning of carers of children with epilepsy at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, South Africa

U A Sabo, P Buttner, G Scher


Background. The impact of caring for a child with a chronic disease on caregivers and their family functioning contributes to the child’s adaptation to the disease.

Objectives. To determine the impact of caregiver burden on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and family functioning of carers of children with epilepsy (CWE), and to determine factors associated with a high impact of caregiver burden.

Method. A cross-sectional study was conducted among primary caregivers of CWE attending the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, South Africa. Participants had been involved in childcare for at least 6 months before study enrolment and all gave informed consent. Data regarding sociodemographic and epilepsy-related variables were obtained from questionnaires, including the 36-item family impact module of the Pediatric Quality of Life assessment tool. Scores in the lower quartile were considered indicative of a negative impact on HRQOL and poor family functioning.

Results. Participants identified as experiencing a high impact of paediatric epilepsy care reported raw scores ≤31.3 for both caregiver burden and family functioning. The family functioning score correlated strongly with the caregivers’ HRQOL score (p=0.78; p<0.001). Multivariate analysis identified a low level of education among caregivers and a high seizure frequency in patients as independent predictors of caregiver burden associated with a negative impact.

Conclusion. Our findings suggest that the burden of caregiving in paediatric epilepsy among our study population impacts negatively on family functioning. The burden of care was associated with a low level of caregiver education and a high seizure frequency in their children.

Authors' affiliations

U A Sabo, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Bayero University Kano and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

P Buttner, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia

G Scher, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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South African Journal of Child Health 2020;14(2):66-70. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.2020.v14i2.1603

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-07-07
Date published: 2020-07-07

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