Health of mothers of children with a life-limiting condition: a comparative cohort study.

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This study aimed to quantify the incidence rates of common mental and physical health conditions in mothers of children with a life-limiting condition.Comparative national longitudinal cohort study using linked primary and secondary care data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink in England. Maternal-child dyads were identified in these data. Maternal physical and mental health outcomes were identified in the primary and secondary care datasets using previously developed diagnostic coding frameworks. Incidence rates of the outcomes were modelled using Poisson regression, adjusting for deprivation, ethnicity and age and accounting for time at risk.A total of 35 683 mothers; 8950 had a child with a life-limiting condition, 8868 had a child with a chronic condition and 17 865 had a child with no long-term condition.The adjusted incidence rates of all of the physical and mental health conditions were significantly higher in the mothers of children with a life-limiting condition when compared with those mothers with a child with no long-term condition (eg, depression: incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.21, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.30; cardiovascular disease: IRR 1.73, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.36; death in mothers: IRR 1.59, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.18).This study clearly demonstrates the higher incidence rates of common and serious physical and mental health problems and death in mothers of children with a life-limiting condition. Further research is required to understand how best to support these mothers, but healthcare providers should consider how they can target this population to provide preventative and treatment services.

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Authors: Lorna K Fraser, Fliss Em Murtagh, Jan Aldridge, Trevor Sheldon, Simon Gilbody, Catherine Hewitt