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Pediatrics. 1991 Sep;88(3):490-6.

Long-term mental health effects of a pediatric home care program.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, New York 10461.


The increased survival of youngsters with chronic physical disorders has led to concern about their long-term psychological adjustment. Few data are available on how to reduce the psychological morbidity that occurs in the presence of chronic childhood illness. An earlier report of a randomized controlled trial of a pediatric home care program demonstrated that this program, combining comprehensive biomedical and psychosocial care, reduced the short-term psychological morbidity of those receiving home care. However, data have not previously been available on whether the short-term improvement in adjustment is associated with any long-term benefits. This report presents long-term follow-up data collected 4 1/2 to 5 years after enrollment on 68% of the original sample. After this interval there were even larger differences between the experimental and control groups than those previously observed at 6 months and 1 year. This finding provides strong evidence that a comprehensive family-oriented outreach program for youngsters with chronic physical disorders can have long-term mental health benefits. It should encourage clinicians to develop similar programs and investigators to look for long-term effects of other interventions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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