Family function and congenital heart disease
AuthorGoldsworthy, Michelle Lorna
AffiliationDepartment of Nursing and Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
CitationsGoldsworthy, M. L. (2013). Family function and congenital heart disease. Masters Research thesis, Department of Nursing and Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne.
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© 2013 Michelle Lorna Goldsworthy
Introduction: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is one of the most common birth defects, and the most complex defects often require cardiac surgery in early infancy. Cardiac surgery typically requires intensive care unit admission. The ongoing effect on the family from having a baby with CHD that requires surgery in early infancy has been incompletely defined. Aim: To describe family function and the burden of having an infant with operated CHD, in the families of two year-olds who underwent surgery for CHD in early infancy. Method: The primary caregivers (n = 99) of young infants (less than 8 weeks of age) that required cardiac surgery in Melbourne, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand completed a series of psychosocial questionnaires assessing family function, family burden, significant life stress, and coping style when their child with CHD was 2 years old. Initial surgery complexity (RACHS-1), need for reoperation, maternal education, timing of diagnosis, and intensive care length of stay was also collected. Results: Healthy family function was found in the majority (79%), Unhealthy family function related to significant life stress (p < 0.02) and avoidance coping style (p < 0.02). Unhealthy family function did not relate to complexity of surgery, diagnostic class, need for reoperation, intensive care length of stay, or maternal education. There was a greater family burden for those with more complex lesions (single ventricle physiology with initial palliation) compared to less complex lesions (biventricular physiology requiring corrective surgery) (p < .02). Conclusion: The majority of families of two year-olds with operated CHD had healthy family function. Unhealthy family function was not related to surgical complexity, reoperation, or diagnostic class, but was related to significant life stress and coping style. Families that indicated a higher level of maternal education were more likely to utilise an adaptive style of coping. However those with a lower level of maternal education were more likely to utilise a less adaptive style of coping. Maternal education per se did not influence family function or family burden however coping style did. Family burden was greater for those that required reoperation and had a greater surgical complexity and significant life stress.
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