A study was presented at the 10th Congress of the International Pediatric Transplant Association on the importance of screening transplant recipients for psychological function, as after receiving a kidney transplant children may experience impaired quality of life.
The research team at Children's National hospital spoke directly to kids about their quality of life after kidney transplant in order to tailor timely interventions to children. Generally, recipients of kidney transplants have reported impaired quality of life compared with healthy peers, with higher mental health difficulties, disrupted sleep patterns and lingering pain.
The Children's team measured general health-related quality of life using a 23-item PedsQL Generic Core module and measured the transplant-related quality of life using the PedsQL- Transplant Module.
The forms, which can be used for patients as young as 2, take about five to 10 minutes to complete and were provided to the child, the parent or the primary caregiver - as appropriate - during a follow-up visit after the transplant.
33 per cent patient-parent dyads completed the measures, with an additional 25 reports obtained from either the patient or the parent. The patients' mean age was 14.2; 41.4 per cent were female.
"Overall, children who receive kidney transplants had minimal concerns about the quality of life after their operation. While it's comforting that most pediatric patients had no significant problems, the range of quality of life scores indicates that some patients had remarkable difficulties," said Kaushalendra Amatya, the study's lead author.
When the study team reviewed reports given by parents, they found their descriptions sometimes differed in striking ways from the children's answers.
"Parents report lower values on emotional functioning, social functioning and total core quality of life, indicating that parents perceive their children as having more difficulties across these specific domains than the patients' own self reports do," Amatya added.
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