A beautiful struggle: Parent-perceived impact of short bowel syndrome on child and family wellbeing

Marie L. Neumann, Jessica Y. Allen, Swapna Kakani, Amy Ladner, Meghan Hall Rauen, Meaghann S. Weaver, David F. Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Despite considerable improvements in outcomes for children with short bowel syndrome (SBS), many clinicians remain pessimistic about long-term quality of life (QoL) for this population. Methods: The validated FaMM tool was used to measure parent-perceived impact of the child's condition on child and family life. Partnered disease-specific survey questions relevant to child's overall wellbeing and family function were additionally completed and reported. The cross-sectional surveys were distributed to a convenience sample of parents of children with SBS. Child and family wellbeing were described and compared across child age group and involvement of an intestinal rehabilitation program (IRP). Multivariate regression analyses investigated associations between outcomes and IRP management. Open-ended responses were analyzed to investigate perceived impact of the child's SBS on the parent. Results: Seventeen parents completed both surveys; 71% perceived child QoL as higher today than what they had originally been told to expect. Child daily life and family difficulty scores suggest parents perceived both to be fairly “normal”. While acknowledging effort invested in condition management, parents perceived high competence in managing their child's condition; 56% perceived personal growth resulting from their child's SBS journey. IRP management was associated with better child daily life (4.11, p = 0.015), family difficulty (-4.85, p = 0.048), and family management ability (4.28, p = 0.014) scores. Conclusions: Many parents perceive child and family life with SBS to be fairly “normal”, manage their child's care with great competence, and report personal growth because of their child's SBS journey. Additional research inclusive of diverse patient and parent backgrounds is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Family functioning
  • Infant
  • Intestinal failure
  • Intestinal rehabilitation
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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