A comparison of doctors', parents' and children's reports of health states and health-related quality of life in children with chronic conditions.

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Journal Article
Child: care, health and development, 2012, 38 (2), pp. 186 - 195
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BACKGROUND: Health-related quality of life is an important outcome. Self-report is the gold standard, but in the paediatric setting we often rely on proxy reporting. Our understanding of the differences between self- and proxy reports and the factors that influence them is limited. These differences can impact on treatment choices and the patient-doctor relationship. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate differences between children's, parents' and doctors' perceptions of health states and health-related quality of life in children with chronic illness and explore factors which explain these differences. METHODS: Consecutive families attending eligible clinics at a tertiary paediatric centre were invited to complete the Health Utilities Index (HUI) 23 questionnaire. Percentage agreement and kappas were calculated as a measure of the agreement between pairs. Chi-squared tests or Fisher's exact test, if appropriate, were performed to determine if there was an association between level of agreement and participant variables. RESULTS: Data were collected for 130 parent-doctor pairs, 59 child-parent pairs and 59 child-doctor pairs. Overall health-related quality of life scores did not differ between responders, but there was poorer agreement for subjective domains. Doctor-child agreement was lower than parent-child agreement. Children with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy or chronic neurological condition were more likely to have lower inter-rater agreement for both subjective and objective domains. On the HUI2, agreement was lower for parent-child pairs when the father was the respondent. For child-doctor pairs, an increased frequency of patient-doctor visits and doctors' seniority were predictors of poorer agreement on the HUI3 and HUI2 respectively. CONCLUSIONS: We identified factors associated with level of agreement for self- and proxy reporting on the HUI23. Parent-child agreement was higher than doctor-child agreement. Patients with significant pain or emotional distress and patients with a diagnosis of severe cerebral palsy or chronic neurological conditions were more susceptible to under-reporting of subjective aspects of well-being by doctors and parents and may benefit from formal assessment of health-related quality of life in the clinical setting.
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