Parents and Children With Asthma Should Both Be Interviewed During Doctor Visits
A new study reveals that children's perceptions of living with asthma may differ significantly from their caregivers' perceptions. Researchers said the findings suggest that both parents and children should be interviewed when they visit the doctor's office.
The latest study, which analyzed the agreement between 79 children and their caregivers on health-related quality-of-life questionnaires, included children aged five to 17. Researchers said that 53 were classified as having acute asthma and 26 had refractory or treatment-resistant asthma.
"The take-home message is that children need to be included in the communication process with health care providers, and physicians need to elicit the child's perspective on their illness, health status, asthma symptoms and what is being done to treat their illness," senior author Pamela Wood, M.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said in a statement.
Lead author Dr. Margaret Burks, M.D., a 2013 graduate of the School of Medicine who is now an intern at Vanderbilt University, believes that children should empowered to take control of their asthma.
"Encouraging an environment where children can talk freely with their caregiver is important, and can start with allowing the child to participate in the office visit," Burks said in a statement. "It is important that children feel that their response to their disease is valued, not only by their physician but by their caregiver, as well."
Researchers asked children to rate their own limitations on activity and caregivers to rate the effect the children's limitations had on family activities.
"Overall, children viewed themselves as less impaired, in comparison to how caregivers viewed the limitations that the asthma placed on the family," Dr. Wood said.
However, researchers note that parents often do not want to acknowledge a lack of communication when they go to a doctor's office.
"I think there is often a concern in the minds of caregivers about how they appear to the physician," Burks said. "Caregivers may not want to seem out of touch with their child's day-to-day health, and, in such fear, they may dominate the conversation at the office visit. Our study demonstrates that it is helpful to gain insight from both the caregiver and the child."