Fever education: Does it reduce parent fever anxiety?

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Abstract

Objective

The aims of the study were to determine the following: 1) if a fever education program (interactive or written) reduces parent fever anxiety; 2) if an interactive fever program was more effective as a teaching style than standard written material alone; and 3) if a fever program increases parent fever home management and reduces return emergency department (ED) visits.

Method

A quasiexperimental, pretest and post-test pilot study examining parental fever anxiety was conducted at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Eligible participants consisted of 87 parents and their children, aged 3 months to 5 years presenting with fever >38.4°C, and without coexisting serious illness.

Results

Both the interactive fever education program and the standard written fever pamphlet were equally effective as teaching methods. Data revealed a 30% reduction in fever anxiety rated as moderate-severe on arrival to none-low post-fever education, increased parent fever home management skills with correct use of thermometer and antipyretics, and reduced unnecessary return ED visits.

Conclusion

Parents in the acute and nonacute care setting may benefit from an interactive fever education program that includes the definition and benefit of fever, the correct use of a thermometer, fever home management skills, and appropriate fever telephone follow-up.

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