Injuries are a significant proportion of lower urgency (triage category 4 or 5) child presentations to the EDs in metropolitan Melbourne. The purpose of the present study was to assess parental preferences and experiences regarding the treatment of lower urgency child injuries and the role of general practitioners (GPs) in such care.Methods
A self-administered survey study of 1150 parents of children ≤9 years of age attending the ED at one of four Victorian hospitals triaged with a lower urgency condition (triage category 4 or 5) looked at whether children with lower urgency injuries are frequently referred by their GP to the ED and parent preferences for the care of lower urgency child injuries. Parents were recruited by time of day and weekday/weekend. Descriptive and bivariate analyses were performed.Results
Fewer parents of injured children, compared with illness, attempted to make a GP appointment prior to attending ED (35% vs 46%; P < 0.001). A greater proportion of injured children were referred to the ED by their GP than ill children (84% vs 59%; P = <0.001). More parents (53%) preferred ED for the care of child injuries than primary care. Parents who presented to the ED with an ill child were more likely to indicate that they have greater trust in ED doctors for the treatment of injuries than primary care doctors (56% vs 46%; P = 0.003).Conclusions
Treatment provided in the ED for child injuries is valued highly by most parents, with a higher proportion of children with an injury being referred to the ED by their GP. Improving GP treatment skills and training opportunities may reduce GP referrals of lower urgency child injuries to the ED.