Nearly one in four families in the USA had said that they would be unlikely to bring their child to the emergency ward if they had an emergency condition during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new survey reveals.
The survey, published in the Academic Emergency Medicine journal, indicated that greater hesitancy to seek emergency care was found in families living in under-resourced communities, those who rely on public insurance.
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“This is concerning, since delays in emergency care may lead to a child’s condition worsening to the point where they require hospital admission,” said lead author Michelle Macy, Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“To avoid a true health crisis, children need to be brought in earlier in the course of their illness. If families are ever concerned, they should contact their child’s primary care provider to determine if emergency care is advised,” Macy added.
For the survey, the research team included 3,896 families in metropolitan Chicago during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the USA.
Overall, 23 percent of families were hesitant to seek emergency care for their child, with the greatest hesitancy observed in families from the most under-resourced communities (27 percent) compared to those living in more affluent neighborhoods (19 percent).
“This reluctance to seek care in a real emergency might further exacerbate health inequities,” Macy said.
In four weeks from March to April 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 42 percent reduction in the emergency department (ED) visits nationally compared with the prior year and noted the steepest decrease in visits was among children less than 15. (IANS)