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J Natl Med Assoc. 2013 Spring;105(1):77-84.

Factors associated with nonurgent use of pediatric emergency care among Latino families.

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Center for Diversity and Health Equity, Seattle Children's Hospital, and the University of Washington, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, 325 Ninth Ave, Box 359960, Seattle, WA 98104-2499, USA.



This study investigates Latino parents' decision to seek pediatric emergency care for nonurgent health conditions.


Three focus groups were conducted with Spanish-speaking parents. Eligible families had a pediatric primary care provider, and their child received emergency treatment for a nonurgent health condition in the previous year. Transcripts were transcribed, translated, and thematically coded.


Parents shared a heightened concern about symptoms such as fever or diminished energy. Many related experiences where delay resulted in serious illness or death. Other factors included low utilization of telephone triage and long clinic wait times. Nearly every family had managed the child's illness at home prior to seeking care, employing medical and natural remedies.


The study findings suggest that strengthening the connection with a child's medical home, eliminating barriers to receiving primary care in urgent situations and educating parents about management of common illnesses may improve care for Latino children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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