Improvement of caregivers’ life quality after children with cleft lip cleft palate undergoing surgical correction : The Thai Red Cross project

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Usa Boonplian
Pichit Siriwan
Kornkiat Snidvongs


Background : Cleft lip and cleft palate (CL/P) are among the most common congenital malformations of the face. These facial deformities significantly impact the mother, children, society and economy of the country. Studies have shown that surgical correction can improve the patient’s appearance and functionality such as feeding and speech. However, there are limited information pertaining to the quality of life (QOL) of the caregivers after
their children have received corrective surgery for cleft deformities and the use of mobile surgical units to reach the hard-to-reach population.

Objectives : To assess the quality of life (QOL) of the caregivers whose children received corrective surgery for CL/P offered through ‘The repair of cleft lip and cleft palate and other deformities project of the Thai Red Cross Society utilizing the mobile unit technique.

Methods : Forty-four caregivers of children who received corrective surgery for CL/P were recruited from 23 – 26 May 2016, and 27 - 30 June 2016. As for the children, post –operative examinations were administered on week 2.
As for the caregivers, the WHOQOL-BREF-THAI Questionnaire was administered at day 0 and month 3 after to assess their QOL.

Results : A significant improvement was detected in all dimensions of the QOL: Overall quality of life and general health (80.9  8.3 pre-surgery; 98.5  7.5 post-surgery; P <0.001), physical health (P <0.001), psychology (P <0.001), social relationships (P <0.001), and the environment (P <0.001).

Conclusion : Surgical correction for CL/P in the children significantly improves the QOL of the caregivers but this is not enough to eradicate the cause of the condition. Additional techniques are needed in conjunction with
the corrective surgery such as education and mobile healthcare units which, when used together, can reduce the prevalence and incidence of CL/P.

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