Parental Language and Return Visits to the Emergency Department After Discharge

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Abstract

Objective

Return visits to the emergency department (ED) are used as a marker of quality of care. Limited English proficiency, along with other demographic and disease-specific factors, has been associated with increased risk of return visit, but the relationship between language, short-term return visits, and overall ED use has not been well characterized.

Methods

This is a planned secondary analysis of a prospective cohort examining the ED discharge process for English- or Spanish-speaking parents of children aged 2 months to 2 years with fever and/or respiratory illness. At 1 year after the index visit, a standardized chart review was performed. The primary outcome was the number of ED visits within 72 hours of the index visit. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine the relative importance of predictor variables and adjust for confounders.

Results

There were 202 parents eligible for inclusion, of whom 23% were Spanish speaking. In addition, 6.9% of the sample had a return visit within 72 hours. After adjustment for confounders, Spanish language was associated with return visit within 72 hours (odds ratio, 3.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.02–11.90) but decreased risk of a second visit within the year (odds ratio, 0.28; 95% confidence interval, 0.12–0.66).

Conclusion

Spanish-speaking parents are at an increased risk of 72-hour return ED visit but do not seem to be at increased risk of ED use during the year after their ED visit.

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