Purpose Parental misconceptions about fever are common. The effectiveness of fever education has not been proven in an emergency department. This study is designed to address the impact of a brief educational intervention on parental knowledge and attitudes toward childhood fever. We hypothesize that an educational video shown during an emergency department visit will impact parental attitudes and knowledge about fever.
Methods A convenience sample of parents of children presenting to an urban pediatric emergency department for febrile illness was used to assess the impact of an educational video about fever in this randomized, prospective study. Subjects consisted of English speaking parents of children 3 to 36 months old triaged as low acuity with the chief complaint of “fever.” A preintervention survey assessing their reasons for coming and baseline knowledge of fever was completed. The intervention group was shown an 11-minute video about fever and a control group was shown an 8-minute video on safety. A postvideo survey and unscripted anticipatory guidance on home fever management were given to all participants. Parental knowledge about was assessed using a previously validated instrument. Data were analyzed using SPSS.
Results Forty-six parents were randomized to the intervention (fever video) group and 61 parents to the control (safety video) group. There was no statistical difference between group demographics or baseline knowledge of childhood fever. The percentage of parents in the fever video group who reported that fever is dangerous was 90.1% before watching the fever video and 44.2% after watching the fever video (z = 4.55, p < .001, 95%CIdiff (0.27, 0.66). There was no statistical difference in the safety video (control) group of parents in their perception of the danger of fever before and after watching the control video on safety (96.4% vs 96.6%). The percentage reporting that a sleeping child should be awakened to treat a fever decreased from 84.5 to 64.9% in the fever video group (z = 1.92, p = .05, 95%CIdiff (0.02,0.37). The percentage of parents reporting that a sleeping child should be awakened to treat a fever was unchanged in the safety video (control group) (92.6% vs 84.6%). Fever video parents also improved on recognizing the dangers of aspirin in treating fever (47.1% pre vs 79.5% post), z = 3.01, p = .003, 95%Cidiff (12.7, 52.1).
Conclusions Preliminary data indicate that a brief informational video improves parental knowledge and perceptions, which supports home management of fever. Such educational videos can be effectively shown in the setting of a pediatric emergency department.
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