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Eur J Public Health. 2006 Aug;16(4):405-14. Epub 2006 Apr 27.

Perceived health status and use of healthcare services among children and adolescents.

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1
Catalan Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Research (CAHTA), Barcelona, Spain. sberra@aatrm.catsalut.net

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The aim of the present study was to analyse the use of healthcare services according to health status in a population of children and adolescents, taking into account family socio-demographic characteristics and characteristics of the proxy respondent.

METHODS:

A total of 836 interviews of proxy respondents for children aged 5-14 years from the Barcelona Health Interview Survey carried out in 2000 were included. Dependent variables were visits to a healthcare professional, visits to the emergency room, and hospitalization. Independent variables were: report of medical conditions, health status of the child measured by the Child Health and Illness Profile-Child Edition, Parent Report Form (CHIP-CE/PRF), the educational level of the head of household, social class, child's healthcare coverage, and proxy-related variables [mental health status by means of the General Health Questionnaire-12 items version (GHQ-12), and other]. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate prevalence ratio (PR) to compare the use of healthcare services among different categories of independent variables.

RESULTS:

Children having worse health status were more likely to have visited a healthcare professional [PR = 1.68; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 1.09-3.83], whereas children with a reported medical condition were more likely to have made a visit to the emergency service (PR = 1.47; 95% CI = 1.27-2.55) and were hospitalized more frequently (PR = 2.50; 95% CI = 1.12-5.57). Higher likelihood of visits to the emergency room was associated with children having both public and private coverage and a proxy respondent scoring 3 or higher on the GHQ-12.

CONCLUSIONS:

Use of healthcare services differed by health needs but not by social class. Double healthcare coverage and mental distress of the proxy respondent influenced the use of emergency services.

PMID:
16644926
DOI:
10.1093/eurpub/ckl055
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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