Objective In chronically ill children who are hospitalised, many mood changes occur. For example, in children with cancer or renal failure, prolonged hospitalisation and chemotherapy can lead to depression. With the improved survival of childhood malignancies, the effect of treatment on child’s psychosocial well-being becomes increasingly relevant. In this study, we examined the prevalence of depression in hospitalised children with chronic and acute conditions in Dr Sheikh Paediatrics Hospital in Mashhad.
Materials and methods After receiving the approval from the Ethics Committee of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, we did this cross-sectional descriptive study, from April to June 2012 in Dr Sheikh Paediatric Hospital in Mashhad. Ninety children, aged between 8 to 16 years, were screened for depression. The sampling method was census. Children with a history of depressive or other mental disorders were excluded. Three groups of children (children with chronic renal disease, malignancy, and acute disease) were evaluated for depression using standard Children Depression Inventory Questionnaire (CDI). Two specifically trained nurses with the supervision of a psychiatrist filled out the questionnaires at patients’ bedside. Depression scores were then analysed by SPSS software.
Results Of 90 children, 43(47.7%) were male and 47(52.2%) were female. The Children’s mean age was 11 ± 2.3 years, and the mean length of hospitalisation was 8 ± 5.3 days. Depression was detected in various degrees in 63% of patients (n = 57), and 36.6% of children (n = 32) had no symptoms of depression. Severe depression was not seen in any of the patients with acute illness. More than half of patients with cancer and chronic kidney disease had moderate to severe depression. There was a significant statistical relationship between the duration of illness and severity of depression. There was also a significant correlation between severity of depression and frequency of hospitalisation. Children who had been hospitalised more than 3 times in the last year, experienced more severe levels of depression. We also found a significant correlation between pubertal age and severity of depression in patients with cancers and chronic renal failure.
Conclusion Children who are hospitalised due to chronic conditions are at a higher risk for mood disorders in comparison with the ones with acute conditions. It is therefore advisable to consider more practical plans to improve the care for hospitalised children’s mental health.
- Pediatric patients
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