Parental decision making associated with pediatric emergency department use for asthma

Shawna S. Mudd, C. Jean Ogborn, Mary Elizabeth Bollinger, Tricia Morphew, Joan Kub, Cassie Lewis-Land, Melissa H. Bellin, Arlene Butz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Disadvantaged minority children are disproportionately affected by asthma. This group is also known to frequently use the emergency department (ED) for asthma care. Understanding decisions for use of the ED is important to prevent high cost. Objective To examine caregiver factors associated with the decision to use the ED for asthma care in inner-city children with asthma. Methods One hundred fifty participants in a randomized clinical trial testing the effectiveness of a home-based asthma intervention were enrolled, and questionnaires were administered to caregivers during the child's ED asthma visit. Sociodemographics, health characteristic data, and caregiver interview data were examined to ascertain factors that affected caregiver decision making to use the ED for asthma care. A cluster analysis was performed to correlate caregiver reasons for the decision to use the ED for asthma care. Results Three clusters emerged for decision making: urgency, preference for the use of the ED, and access to care issues. The perception of urgency was the most common reason reported by caregivers (91%) followed by reporting a preference for the ED for care (37%) and reporting access to care issues (31%). Access to care was primarily attributable to the inability to get a same-day appointment with their primary care practitioner (24%). Conclusion The caregiver factors involved in the decision to use the ED can provide a basis for further intervention and investigation. Such factors include caregiver asthma home management, improvement in relationships with primary care practitioners, and access to care-related issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-494
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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