Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
Sharon L. Gilman
Cleft Lip and Palate Syndrome (CL/P) is a condition that occurs in vitro, during fetal development. Because the majority of CL/P cases occur in underdeveloped nations, the families of CL/P patients are typically characterized by impoverished homes. These are the very people who cannot afford to pay for folic acid supplements, or reconstructive and reparative surgeries. Many families struggle under the extreme pressure of raising a child with CL/P. In these nations, the child often cannot receive the proper care they need, and usually are the product of unsuccessful surgeries. The stress of a CL/P patient is incredibly high, both physically and emotionally. However, the life of a caregiver of a CL/P patient must be close to, if not equivalent to, that of the patient (Gowda, et. al, 2013.). A study was executed that provided a unique scope into the life of CL/P families in order to gain a fresh perspective on the quality of life of a caregiver of a CL/P patient. This was a pilot study, as most studies pertaining to CL/P are geared toward researching the patient. Using statistical analysis, researchers employed a General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) as a basis to determine the overall health of the patient's home life, from the perspective of the caregiver, who recorded their personal Mental Health (MH). The results strongly suggested that the caregivers suffered from poor MH overall. What little research had been conducted prior to that, suggested that the child's condition had nothing to do with the quality of quality of life (QOL) of the caregiver. The current research contradicted these older and obsolete concepts strongly, showing that caregivers of a certain demographic typically struggled with their QOL. These caregivers, specifically, were the mothers of young CL/P patients, typically infants. However, the results showed that the amount of time a caregiver spends with a CL/P patient is directly proportional to the caregiver's perception of their QOL. A caregiver who spends a great deal of time with the patient is more likely to value their life and have a positive outlook, seeing the importance of their role within the life of the patient. More studies like these should be conducted, as the future and hope of recovery of a CL/P patient depends greatly on the ability of a caregiver to perform their duties.
Perry, Duncan, "Cleft Lip and Palate Repair: Bridging the Gap Between Genetics and Oral Health: An Individual Case Study" (2013). Honors Theses. 35.