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Unhealthy Children Get Lower Quality Health Care

But parents of chronically ill patients appear more satisfied

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of children in poor health report lower quality of health care and more related problems than their counterparts with healthier children, according to study findings published in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. However, parents of those with chronic conditions report fewer care-related problems.

Jennifer W. Mack, M.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues conducted a survey of 12,562 parents of children who received inpatient care at 39 hospitals between January 1997 and December 1999 to rate parents' overall satisfaction with the quality of care.

Parents with children whose health was only fair or poor reported lower quality of care and more care-related problems compared with those whose children's health was rated excellent, very good or good. However, parents of children who had chronic health conditions perceived less problems with their children's care versus their counterparts whose children did not have chronic conditions.

"The fact that children with chronic conditions reported better experiences than did other children, except for those in the best health, seems somewhat counterintuitive given the direction of the health status effect," the authors conclude. "This may be owing to the more frequent health care interactions and better continuity of care for children with chronic conditions."

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