Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are at increased risk of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional problems. They also participate less in sports. Moreover, the parents of these children more often have psychosocial problems than the parents of healthy children. Milestones such as starting kindergarten or primary school present more challenges for children with CHD and their parents than for families of healthy children. A family-based psychosocial intervention tailored to the needs of these families might help alleviate problems.
The ‘Congenital Heart Disease Intervention Program (CHIP)-School’ is the only scientifically examined psychosocial intervention for children with CHD and their parents. Still, the program targeted parents only and resulted in positive, though non-significant effects on the children’s psychosocial wellbeing. To improve these results, we have added a specific child module and now target siblings as well, thereby creating the CHIP-Family intervention. The aim is to improve the child’s psychosocial wellbeing, sports participation, and the parents’ mental health.
We hope to improve the psychosocial care for children with CHD and their families. If CHIP-Family proves to be effective, it deserves to be implemented in standard care.