An audit of the impact of a consultation with a paediatric dermatology team on quality of life in infants with atopic eczema and their families: further validation of the Infants' Dermatitis Quality of Life Index and Dermatitis Family Impact score.Br J Dermatol. 2006 Dec; 155(6):1249-55.BJ
Atopic dermatitis (AD) accounts for 10-20% of referrals to secondary care dermatology, often requiring multiple visits and occupying much valuable time and resources.
We audited the usefulness (ease of use, reliability and sensitivity to change) of two simple and easy to use quality of life (QoL) measures, the Infants' Dermatitis Quality of Life Index (IDQOL) and Dermatitis Family Impact (DFI), for assessing the impact on QoL of AD in infants and their families in a routine clinical setting. We also examined the impact of an initial consultation with a dermatology team on AD severity and QoL impairment from the parent's perspective.
The parents of 203 infants (mean age 19.8 months) with AD attending paediatric dermatology clinics completed the DFI and IDQOL. The parents of 50 of these infants completed both questionnaires before first and second consultations.
In the 203 children the mean of both the IDQOL and DFI scores was 8.47 (median 8 and 7 and SD 5.8 and 6.5, respectively). The IDQOL and DFI correlated well (r(s) = 0.776, P < 0.0001). The parent's assessment of the global severity of AD correlated well with the IDQOL score (r(s) = 0.636, P < 0.0001) but less well with the DFI (r(s) = 0.394, P < 0.001). The highest-scoring IDQOL items were itching and scratching, problems at bathtime and time taken to fall asleep. The highest-scoring DFI items were tiredness/exhaustion, sleep loss and emotional distress. In both measures these domains also correlated most strongly with eczema severity. After dermatology consultation the median global severity score, rated by 50 parents, fell from 2 (SD 0.83) to 1 (SD 0.8; 95% confidence interval, CI 0.5-1), the median IDQOL score fell from 8 (SD 5.92) to 5.5 (SD 5.92; 95% CI 2-5.5) and the median DFI score fell from 9 (SD 6.45) to 3 (SD 6.56; 95% CI 2-5.5). In 50 infants the median IDQOL scores for those infants with global AD severity scores of 1, 2 and 3 were 5 (SD 5.65), 8 (SD 4.27) and 14 (SD 5.67), respectively and improved by 10%, 38% and 64%, respectively while the median DFI scores improved by 54%, 56% and 79%, respectively. The most improved IDQOL items were the time taken to get to sleep and difficulty at mealtimes and the most improved DFI domains were tiredness/exhaustion and emotional distress in the parents.
We have provided further important information on the effects of AD on infants and their families using the IDQOL and DFI QoL measures. We demonstrate the usefulness of these measures in routine clinical management of AD and show the beneficial effect for both infants and parents of the initial consultation by a dermatology team in a secondary care setting.