Caring for a sick child has a profound impact on physical and mental health of parents. They are also often forced to skip work. The diverse influence of the presence of disease in a child by parents was studied in the work “the Impact of restricted activity in children to physical and mental health of parents and the amount of time off work in the United States.” Work conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin, was published in the journal Academic Pediatrics today.
In their work, sponsored by the National Institute of child health and human development, Dr. Whitney Witt (Whitney P. Witt) and her colleagues studied the effect of activity limitations in children because of illness on the health of their parents and how this was reflected in their work. Children with limited activity can’t perform the actions that are easily performed by their peers. The result was that the parents of these children often complain of health and mental condition than parents of children without such problems. Also, they most often parents miss work. Limited activity may be the result of such chronic disorders as autism, chronic heart failure, diabetes or asthma, as well as temporary problems like a broken leg or seasonal allergies. To this group of children the researchers also ranked those who need to regularly visit medical professionals.
The experts studied data about 18827 families. Among them, 15.6% of families had a child with limited activity. “We came to the conclusion that the health problems of the child have a huge impact on the whole family. The care of such children is associated with stress, and therefore, pediatricians should pay attention to the parents, inviting them to test their physical and mental health,” said Professor Witt. Parents of children with permanent or progressive loss of activity in two times more often complained of health problems and a little more often on their mental state. Working parents of such children are three times more likely to miss work.
In conclusion, scientists have proposed to develop a new, family-oriented approach in the treatment of children with reduced activity. “Attention to the problems of parents will help improve the health and well-being of the whole family,” they say. Employers should also adopt a series of measures to support employees with sick children to their frequent absences not falling labour productivity.