The Impact of Severe Respiratory Syncytial Virus on the Child, Caregiver, and Family during Hospitalization and Recovery

Nancy Kline Leidy, Mary Kay Margolis, James P Marcin, Jennifer A. Flynn, Lorry R. Frankel, Susan Johnson, Diane Langkamp, Eric A F Simoes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Objective. To quantify the magnitude of child, caregiver, and family distress associated with hospitalization for severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the posthospitalization recovery period. Design. A prospective study of 46 RSV-hospitalized infants and children ≤30 months of age with a history of prematurity (gestational age of ≤35 weeks) and 45 age-matched control subjects was performed. RSV group data were gathered during hospitalization and on days 4, 14, 21, and 60 after discharge; control group data were collected at the end of the RSV season and 60 days thereafter. Main Outcome Measures. RSV severity; caregiver's rating of the child's health (100-point rating) and functional status (Functional Status IIR); caregiver health, stress (7-point rating), and anxiety (Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory); and family health and functioning (Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale II) were recorded. Results. The mean age of the sample was 10.2 months; 51% of the subjects were male. The average duration of hospital stay for the RSV group was 5.8 ± 8 days. Most patients received supplemental oxygen (76%) and were monitored for apnea (60%). The mean age of the caregivers (93% mothers) was 29 years. During hospitalization, the RSV-infected patients' health and functional status were significantly poorer than those of control subjects. Caregivers of RSV-infected children reported more stress, greater anxiety, poorer health, and poorer family health and functioning. As long as 60 days after discharge, caregivers of RSV-infected children reported the children's health as significantly poorer and were personally more anxious, compared with control subjects. Conclusions. RSV-related hospitalization creates significant distress for infants and children, caregivers, and families, with some effects extending as long as 60 days after discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1536-1546
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Anxiety
  • Burden of illness
  • Caregiver
  • Distress
  • Hospitalization
  • Respiratory syncytial virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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