Care for the caregiver: An exploration of caregiver burden of children with chronic medical conditions at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan - A mixed-methods study

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Objectives: Caregiver burden often goes unrecognised and can substantially affect caregivers' physical, psychological and financial well-being, thereby impacting quality of care. This study investigates burden among caregivers of children with chronic medical conditions in a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan. The study aims to assess the extent of burden, explore influencing factors and recommendations for interventions.
Design: Mixed-methods study, comprising of an in-person paper-based survey, employing the Zarit Burden Interview scale to assess burden scores. Qualitative component included thematic analysis of semi-structured in-depth interviews with caregivers.
Participants: 383 caregivers of children admitted to the inpatient paediatric services at our tertiary care centre were surveyed. In-depth interviews were conducted with 19 caregivers.
Results: The survey revealed a mean burden score of 35.35±15.14, with nearly half of the participants (46%, n=177) experiencing mild burden, while 37% (n=140) reporting moderate-to-severe burden. The most common diagnosis was cancer (24%, n=92), while the highest burden (42.97±15.47) was noted for congenital cardiac disease. Greater burden was significantly associated with lower caregiver education, young age of the child at diagnosis and increased number of hospital visits (pConclusions: The study elucidates the multifaceted nature of caregiver burden in the context of paediatric chronic illnesses in Pakistan. Interventions should emphasise financial aid, educational support and development of system-level changes to improve access to resources and medical care coordination. These insights call for policy and practice integration to support caregivers effectively.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

BMJ Open