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Influence of awareness and availability of medical alternatives on parents seeking paediatric emergency care

Ellbrant, Julia A. LU ; Åkeson, S. Jonas LU and Karlsland Åkeson, Pia M. LU (2018) In Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 46(4). p.456-462
Abstract

Aims: Direct seeking of care at paediatric emergency departments may result from an inadequate awareness or a short supply of medical alternatives. We therefore evaluated the care-seeking patterns, availability of medical options and initial medical assessments – with overall reference to socioeconomic status – of parents at an urban paediatric emergency department in a Scandinavian country providing free paediatric healthcare. Methods: The parents of children assessed by paediatric emergency department physicians at a Swedish university hospital over a 25-day winter period completed a questionnaire on recent medical contacts and their reasons for attendance. Additional information was obtained from ledgers, patient records and... (More)

Aims: Direct seeking of care at paediatric emergency departments may result from an inadequate awareness or a short supply of medical alternatives. We therefore evaluated the care-seeking patterns, availability of medical options and initial medical assessments – with overall reference to socioeconomic status – of parents at an urban paediatric emergency department in a Scandinavian country providing free paediatric healthcare. Methods: The parents of children assessed by paediatric emergency department physicians at a Swedish university hospital over a 25-day winter period completed a questionnaire on recent medical contacts and their reasons for attendance. Additional information was obtained from ledgers, patient records and population demographics. Results: In total, 657 of 713 eligible patients (92%) were included. Seventy-nine per cent of their parents either failed to or managed to establish medical contact before the emergency department visit, whereas 21% sought care with no attempt at recent medical contact. Visits with a failed telephone or primary care contact (18%) were more common outside office hours (p=0.014) and were scored as less urgent (p=0.014). A perceived emergency was the main reason for no attempt at medical contact before the visit. Direct emergency department care-seeking was more common from the city district with the lowest socioeconomic status (p=0.027). Conclusions: Although most parents in this Swedish study tried to seek medical advice before attending a paediatric emergency department, perceived emergency, a short supply of telephone health line or primary care facilities and lower socioeconomic status contributed to direct care-seeking by almost 40% of parents. Pre-hospital awareness and the availability of medical alternatives with an emphasis on major differences in socioeconomic status should therefore be considered to further optimize care-seeking in paediatric emergency departments.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Children, emergency department, paediatrics, primary care, seeking behaviour, socioeconomic status, telephone health line, urgency
in
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
volume
46
issue
4
pages
456 - 462
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • scopus:85042077611
ISSN
1403-4948
DOI
10.1177/1403494817735222
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
24f8900a-4941-4c2a-bea1-056862f9d932
date added to LUP
2018-03-09 12:53:47
date last changed
2019-03-19 03:50:50
@article{24f8900a-4941-4c2a-bea1-056862f9d932,
  abstract     = {<p>Aims: Direct seeking of care at paediatric emergency departments may result from an inadequate awareness or a short supply of medical alternatives. We therefore evaluated the care-seeking patterns, availability of medical options and initial medical assessments – with overall reference to socioeconomic status – of parents at an urban paediatric emergency department in a Scandinavian country providing free paediatric healthcare. Methods: The parents of children assessed by paediatric emergency department physicians at a Swedish university hospital over a 25-day winter period completed a questionnaire on recent medical contacts and their reasons for attendance. Additional information was obtained from ledgers, patient records and population demographics. Results: In total, 657 of 713 eligible patients (92%) were included. Seventy-nine per cent of their parents either failed to or managed to establish medical contact before the emergency department visit, whereas 21% sought care with no attempt at recent medical contact. Visits with a failed telephone or primary care contact (18%) were more common outside office hours (p=0.014) and were scored as less urgent (p=0.014). A perceived emergency was the main reason for no attempt at medical contact before the visit. Direct emergency department care-seeking was more common from the city district with the lowest socioeconomic status (p=0.027). Conclusions: Although most parents in this Swedish study tried to seek medical advice before attending a paediatric emergency department, perceived emergency, a short supply of telephone health line or primary care facilities and lower socioeconomic status contributed to direct care-seeking by almost 40% of parents. Pre-hospital awareness and the availability of medical alternatives with an emphasis on major differences in socioeconomic status should therefore be considered to further optimize care-seeking in paediatric emergency departments.</p>},
  author       = {Ellbrant, Julia A. and Åkeson, S. Jonas and Karlsland Åkeson, Pia M.},
  issn         = {1403-4948},
  keyword      = {Children,emergency department,paediatrics,primary care,seeking behaviour,socioeconomic status,telephone health line,urgency},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {456--462},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Scandinavian Journal of Public Health},
  title        = {Influence of awareness and availability of medical alternatives on parents seeking paediatric emergency care},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1403494817735222},
  volume       = {46},
  year         = {2018},
}