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Caregiver English Skills Tied to Length of Hospital Stay

Pediatric inpatients whose caregiver has limited English also have fewer home health care referrals

WEDNESDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatric inpatients with infection requiring long-term antibiotic treatment whose primary caregiver has limited English proficiency are likely to have a longer length of stay (LOS) in the hospital, and fewer home health care referrals, according to a study published online May 2 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Michael N. Levas, M.D., from the Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues investigated the correlation between limited English proficiency of primary caregivers, and hospital LOS and home health care referrals for children with infections who are eligible for home health care. A total of 1,257 children aged 0 to 18 years admitted to the hospital for infections and requiring prolonged antibiotic treatment were included in the study. English proficiency of primary caregivers was reported and correlated with LOS and number of home health care referrals.

The investigators found that the average LOS was 4.1 days, and patients with caregivers who had limited English proficiency stayed an average of 60 percent longer than patients with English-proficient primary caregivers (adjusted relative LOS, 1.6). Other factors associated with increased LOS were insurance status, absence of a primary care provider, home health care utilization, and comorbidity. There was a significant correlation between limited English proficiency and a reduced number of home health care referrals (odds ratio, 0.2). Patient insurance and comorbidity were also significantly correlated with decreased number of home health care referrals.

"A primary caregiver with limited English proficiency was identified as an important independent risk factor for both increased LOS and decreased number of home health care referrals," the authors write.

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