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Open Access Caregivers’ perspectives on health-related quality of life in young children with TB and respiratory illnesses

BACKGROUND: There is a lack of holistic health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measures for young children with respiratory disease, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We aimed to understand caregivers’ perceptions of the relevance of common HRQoL domains for children with respiratory diseases, including TB.

METHODS: This study was nested in a prospective observational cohort of children presenting with respiratory symptoms presumptive of pulmonary TB. We conducted 10 semi-structured interviews to explore caregivers’ perceptions of the five commonly measured HRQoL domains: physical health, social support, emotional and psychological wellbeing, and schooling. We used case descriptive analysis and thematic coding.

RESULTS: Caregivers considered all five domains to be relevant. The socio-economic context framed their responses, with QoL requiring sufficient basic resources for children. HRQoL experiences varied according to the severity of the child’s symptoms, but not between TB and non-TB illnesses. Manifestations in the psychological domain were difficult to distinguish from the emotional domain. Social support included broad support for family members, indirectly benefiting the children. Caregivers were concerned about their children’s early developmental milestones and future schooling.

CONCLUSION: This exploratory study shows that HRQoL domains are relevant but require adaptation to be applicable for young children affected by respiratory illnesses living in LMICs.

Keywords: lung health; paediatric; qualitative; quality of life

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tygerberg, South Africa 2: Paediatric Pulmonology, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa

Publication date: December 21, 2022

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