Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive and potentially disabling illness that can have a serious impact on patient quality of life (QoL). The onset of PD, however, affects not just the patient, but also the family unit as a whole, and can lead to changing roles and altered behaviours of individual members. Little is currently known about how the onset of chronic illness such as PD impacts on the QoL and psychosocial well-being of children across varying developmental stages.
The aims of this research are to i) develop an instrument to measure the QoL of children whose parent is chronically ill, ii) identify key demographic, illness-related and psychosocial factors that contribute to good versus poor QoL of PD patients, their spouse and children, iii) compare the QoL of children whose parent has PD with the QoL of children whose parent has other forms of chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis, and also acute illness episodes such as stroke. It is anticipated that results should be of value in identifying how parental chronic illness influences the QoL of children, which factors are generic and which are disease specific, and what steps can be taken to promote good QoL for these children.