To determine parental experiences and preferences regarding the conduct of pediatric research in an emergency department (ED) setting.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of parents of children ages 0 – 14 years who visited the ED of a tertiary care children’s hospital. Parents completed a Web-based survey designed to assess perceptions regarding: 1) background/training of research personnel, 2) location and timing of research discussions, and 3) factors influencing their consent/refusal decision.
Parents totalling 339 were approached, and 227 (67%) surveys were completed. Overall, 87% (197/227; 95% confidence interval [CI] 83, 92) reported they would be comfortable being approached by a university student to discuss research. This proportion did not change when stratified by the child’s gender, illness severity, or season of visit. Whereas only 37% (84/227; 95% CI 31, 43) of respondents would be comfortable being approached in the waiting room, 68% (154/227; 95% CI 62, 75) would be comfortable if approached in a separate area of the main waiting room. The majority reported comfort with follow-up via email (83%; 188/227; 95% CI 78, 88) or telephone (80%; 182/227; 95% CI 75, 85); only 51% (116/227; 95% CI 44, 57) would be comfortable with a scheduled follow-up visit in the hospital. Participants identified potential complications or side effects as the most common reason for declining consent (69%; 157/227; 95% CI 63, 75).
The majority of parents are comfortable being approached by trained university students, preferably in a separate area of an ED waiting room, and email and telephone follow-ups are preferred over a scheduled re-visit.