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Social circumstances and medical complications in children with intestinal failure
  1. Veena Zamvar1,
  2. John W L Puntis1,
  3. Girish Gupte2,
  4. Gill Lazonby1,
  5. Christine Holden3,
  6. Elaine Sexton3,
  7. Christopher Bunford3,
  8. Susan Protheroe3,
  9. Susan V Beath2
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Leeds Children's Hospital, The General Infirmary at Leeds, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Hepatology and Small Bowel Transplantation, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sue Beath, The Liver Unit (including Small Bowel Transplantation), Birmingham Children's Hospital, West Midlands B4 6NH UK;


Although most children discharged on home parenteral nutrition (HPN) will achieve enteral autonomy, some remain parenteral nutrition dependent; those who develop life-threatening complications may undergo small bowel transplantation (SBTx). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between social circumstances, compliance and complications.

Subjects and methods An observational study in 2008–2012 on 64 children (34 HPN, 30 SBTx) from three units (two regional gastroenterology; one transplant). Social circumstances were assessed routinely as part of discharge planning; adherence by families to home care management was scored, and episodes of catheter-related blood stream infection and graft rejection were recorded for 2 years and related to compliance and social circumstances.

Results A quarter of families had a disadvantaged parent: non-English speaking (n=11), unable to read (n=5), physical disability (n=3), mental health problems disclosed (n=10); 20% children were cared for by a lone parent. Discharge home was delayed by social factors (n=9) and need for rehousing (n=17, 27%). 17/34 (50%) of HPN and 12/30 (40%) of transplant families were assessed as fully adherent. 10 families were assessed as non-adherent, eight were subject to child protection review and care was taken over by another family member (n=3) or foster parents (n=2). The risk of catheter-related blood stream infection was increased by parental disadvantage and age <3 years (p<0.05). Poor compliance was associated with complications in HPN and SBTx recipients.

Conclusions Children receiving complex home care may be socially isolated and measures to support improved compliance such as increased community support, social care involvement and respite care may improve outcomes.

  • Gastroenterology
  • Multidisciplinary team-care
  • Comm Child Health
  • compliance
  • transplantation

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