INTRODUCTION: About 20-30% of children access the Pediatric Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) for non-urgent health care that should normally follow other health care paths. This study aimed to investigate why parents take their children to the A&E for non-urgent visits rather than using primary care services.
METHODS: A one-year cross-sectional study was conducted in a large pediatric A&E in Italy. A paper-and-pencil 40-item questionnaire was administered to parents of children aged between 3 months to 6 years who accessed the A&E for non-urgent visits between July 2018 and June 2019.
RESULTS: Parents of 238 children completed the questionnaire (mean age = 2.6 years; male 58%). The most common symptoms were fever (n = 105; 44.1%) and skin rash (n = 63; 26.5%); symptoms usually started more than 24 h earlier (n = 163; 69.4%). Reasons for accessing the A&E for non-urgent visits included the availability of rapid medical tests (n = 71; 29.8%), deterioration of the clinical conditions after the pediatrician's visit (n = 67; 28.2%), and the perceived need for urgent care (n = 65; 27.3%). Besides, 26.6% (n = 63) of parents reported not being able to contact their pediatrician before accessing A&E.
CONCLUSION: Parents may need further education to distinguish between urgent and non-urgent pediatric health conditions.
|Journal||International Emergency Nursing|
|Publication status||Published - Sept 2021|
- Ambulatory Care
- Child, Preschool
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Emergency Service, Hospital
- Surveys and Questionnaires