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Arch Dis Child. 2005 May;90(5):486-91.

Quality of life in chronic illness: perceptions of parents and paediatricians.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands.



To investigate the differences in perception of quality of life between parents of chronically ill children and paediatricians at diagnosis and follow up. Quality of life was assessed using the (HUI3).


Longitudinal study (July 1999-January 2002) of 37 paediatricians and 181 parents of patients (children aged 1-17 years) with cystic fibrosis admitted for a pneumonia or patients with newly diagnosed acute lymphatic leukaemia, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, or asthma. Main outcome measure was percentage agreement on the attributes of the HUI3 between parents and paediatricians.


Differences in perception of health and wellbeing between paediatricians and parents of children with a chronic disease were found, not only at diagnosis but also after a period of follow up. Differences were particularly clear in the subjective attributes emotion (range of agreement 28-68%) and pain/discomfort (range of agreement 11-33%). In all patient groups, at baseline and follow up, the paediatrician assessed the patient to have less pain/discomfort in comparison to the parents. Despite a prolonged patient- paediatrician relationship, differences at follow up did not decrease compared to baseline.


At the onset of a chronic disease, but also after a period of follow up, quality of life of paediatric patients may be misunderstood by healthcare professionals, especially in the subjective attributes. Systematic assessment of quality of life may contribute to better understanding between physicians and parents.

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