Exclusion From Child Care May Spur ER/Urgent Care Visits

Most parents seek acute care when their sick child is unable to attend child care

TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of sick children excluded from child care frequently seek evaluation in the emergency department or urgent care setting, according to research published online June 23 in Pediatrics.

Andrew N. Hashikawa, M.D., M.S., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a nationally representative survey to assess parental use of urgent medical evaluation for sick children who were unable to attend child care.

The researchers found that, among the cohort of 357 parents with children aged 0 to 5 years, more than half required child care (57 percent), which was typically away from the home (84 percent). When sick children were unable to attend child care, more than 88 percent of parents sought acute medical care. Parents brought their sick child in for medical evaluation to the primary care setting (81 percent), urgent care (26 percent), or the emergency department (25 percent). Use of the emergency department or urgent care was most common for rash (21 percent) and fever (15 percent). About one-third of parents needed a doctor's note for their employer and/or child care.

"Training child care professionals regarding appropriate illness exclusions may decrease emergency department/urgent care visits by lowering child care exclusions," the authors write.

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