Why some children hospitalized for pneumonia do not consult with a general practitioner before the day of hospitalization
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BACKGROUND: Early consultation in primary care may provide an opportunity for early intervention in children developing pneumonia, but little is known about why some children do not consult a general practitioner (GP) before hospitalization. OBJECTIVES: To identify differences between children who consulted a GP and children who did not consult a GP before the day of hospital presentation with pneumonia or empyema. METHODS: Carers of children aged six months to 16 years presenting to hospital with pneumonia or empyema completed a questionnaire, with a subset participating in an interview to identify physical, organizational and psychological barriers to consultation. Responses from those who had consulted a GP before the day of hospital presentation were compared with those who had not on a range of medical, social and environmental variables. RESULTS: Fifty seven (38%) of 151 participants had not consulted a GP before the day of hospital presentation. On multivariate analysis, illness duration ≥ 3 days (odds ratio [OR] 4.36, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.67-11.39), prior antibiotic use (OR: 10.35, 95% CI: 2.16-49.55) and home ownership (OR: 3.17, 95% CI: 1.07-9.37) were significantly associated with early GP consultation (P < 0.05). Interviews with 28 carers whose children had not seen a GP before the day of presentation revealed that most had not considered it and/or did not think their child's initial symptoms were serious or unusual; 11 (39.3%) had considered consulting a GP but reported barriers to access. CONCLUSION: Lack of early GP consultation was strongly associated with rapid evolution of pneumonia.
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