Sunday, 18 August 2019

Which parents are more likely to call an ambulance unnecessarily for a sick child?

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Having a sick child is stressful for parents and there is always the issue of whether or not to summon help, sometimes from the ambulance service. Not every instance of parents calling an ambulance is necessary, but which parents are most likely to make unnecessary calls? This as the subject of a study by Ueki et al. (2019) from Japan titled: 'Parental factors predicting unnecessary ambulance use for their child with acute illness: A cross‐sectional study' and published in JAN. The aim of the study was to: 'examine characteristics of parents of children with acute, albeit mild, illnesses who used ambulance transport unnecessarily' and over 170 parents who had visited the emergency department of a hospital were questioned.

The results showed that 'parents who did not use resources to obtain information regarding their child’s illness, had low health literacy, were observing presenting symptoms for the first time in their child, or had high uncertainty, were significantly more likely to unnecessarily use ambulances. The authors concluded: 'Publicizing available resources regarding child health information, social health care activities to raise parents’ health literacy and explanations in accordance with parents’ uncertainty, especially when faced with new symptoms in their child, might reduce unnecessary ambulance use.'

You can listen to this as a podcast

Reference
Ueki, S. , Komai, K. , Ohashi, K. , Fujita, Y. , Kitao, M. and Fujiwara, C. (2019), Parental factors predicting unnecessary ambulance use for their child with acute illness: A cross‐sectional study. J Adv Nurs. doi:10.1111/jan.14161

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