Factors Affecting Nonurgent Pediatric Emergency Department Visits and Parental Emergency Overestimation


PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY CARE, vol.38, no.6, pp.264-268, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1097/pec.0000000000002723
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.264-268
  • Keywords: nonurgent visits, parental emergency overestimation, sociodemographic factors, HEALTH LITERACY, MALPRACTICE LAWSUITS, CARE, EPIDEMIOLOGY, CHILDREN, PROFILE


Objectives Understanding the factors causing nonurgent visits to the pediatric emergency departments (PED) is essential for developing effective interventions. Sociodemographic factors might have a direct effect, or they might be associated with other potential causal factors such as access, perceived severity, and convenience. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the factors that might have an effect on nonurgent PED visits and parental overestimation of emergency severity. Methods Data of a total of 974 patients who have been administered to the PED of a district state hospital were collected with a cross-sectional, self-administered survey. Level 5 was accepted as nonurgent cases according to the Pediatric Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale. Parents' assessment of their child's emergency status was assessed along with the age and sex of the child, the number of children, presence of a chronic illness, presence of fever, admission time, parental age, education status and occupation, transportation method, and living distance to emergency department. Results Sixty-eight percent of visits were nonurgent. Among these visits, 51.6% were perceived as urgent, and 11.5% as extremely urgent by the parents. We identified that infancy age group (P = 0.001), father's unemployment status (P = 0.038), presence of a chronic disease (P = 0.020), and a previous visit to the PED in the last week (P = 0.008) are associated with urgent visits. Having a fever (P = 0.002), younger mother (P = 0.046) and father age (P = 0.007), mother not having an income (P = 0.034), and father's lower level of education (P = 0.036) increased the likelihood of overestimating the emergency severity. Conclusions Nonurgent visits constitute most of the PED admissions. Several factors were found to be associated with nonurgent visits either by causing a direct effect or by indirectly impacting the perceived severity. Health literacy-based interventions targeting common symptoms like fever and especially younger parent groups might be beneficial in lowering the patient burden of PEDs.