Caregiver-reported delay in presentation to pediatric emergency departments for fear of contracting COVID-19: a multi-national cross-sectional study

for the International COVID-19 Parental Attitude Study (COVIPAS) Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine if caregivers of children presenting to pediatric emergency departments (EDs) during the COVID-19 pandemic are delaying presenting to care for fear of contracting COVID-19. Methods: This was a pre-planned secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey study of caregivers accompanying their children aged 0–19 years to 16 pediatric EDs in 5 countries from May to June 2020. An anonymous online survey, completed by caregivers via RedCAP, included caregiver and child demographics, presenting complaints, if they delayed presentation and whether symptoms worsened during this interval, as well as caregiver concern about the child or caregiver having COVID-19 at the time of ED visit. Results: Of 1543 caregivers completing the survey, 287 (18.6%) reported a delay in seeking ED care due to concerns of contracting COVID-19 in the hospital. Of those, 124 (43.2%) stated their child’s symptoms worsened during the waiting interval. Caregiver relationship to child [mother] (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.27–2.76), presence of chronic illness in child (OR 1.78. 95% CI 1.14–2.79), younger age of caregiver (OR 0.965, 95% CI 0.943–0.986), and caregiver concerns about lost work during the pandemic (OR 1.08, 95% CI 1.04–1.12) were independently associated with a COVID-19-related delayed presentation in multivariable regression analysis. Conclusions: Almost one in five caregivers reported delaying ED presentation for their ill or injured child specifically due to fear of contracting COVID-19 while in hospital, with mothers, younger caregivers, caregivers of children with chronic illness, and those concerned about lost work more likely to report delaying ED presentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-786
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Caregivers
  • Children
  • Emergency department
  • Presentation delay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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