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J Clin Nurs. 2012 Jan;21(1-2):160-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03583.x. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Family caregiver distress with children having rare genetic disorders: a qualitative study involving Russell-Silver Syndrome in Taiwan.

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1
Department of Nursing, Tajen University, PingTung County, Taiwan.

Abstract

AIM:

To extend nursing knowledge of distress experienced by family caregivers of children with rare genetic disorders, by exploring the perspectives of caregivers of children with Russell-Silver Syndrome in Taiwan.

BACKGROUND:

Caring for a child with a rare genetic disorder often has profound effects on families, especially when diagnosis and treatment is complex or not yet well developed, such as that in Russell-Silver Syndrome (or Silver-Russell syndrome). This disorder causes dwarfism and developmental difficulties, requiring long-term care planning. Previous research has focused mostly on medical care, but little is known about families' perspectives of caring difficulties, the help they need and nursing care required.

DESIGN:

An exploratory qualitative approach was used to inform this study.

METHODS:

Family caregivers, whose children were undergoing medical care in a leading Taiwan medical centre, were invited to participate in face-to-face, in-depth interviews. Data were analysed by content analysis.

RESULTS:

Fifteen caregivers including 11 mothers, two fathers and two grandmothers participated. Five major themes and 13 sub-themes of care-giving distress were identified: endless psychological worries; the lengthy process to confirm a medical diagnosis; adjustment efforts in modifying family roles; dilemmas in deciding between Western or Chinese traditional medicine; and negative responses to society's concerns. Their primary sources of support were spouses, parents and health professionals, accordingly.

CONCLUSION:

Complex physio-psycho-social and decision-making distress in caring for children with a rare genetic disorder were systematically revealed from the perspectives of ethnic-Chinese family caregivers.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:

Long-term care plans for children with a rare genetic disorder such as Russell-Silver Syndrome need to focus on positive dynamic family interactions, life-stage development and family caregiver support. Research on care-giving in rare genetic disorders is also warranted across cultures and countries to develop a substantial knowledge basis for nursing practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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