Because cohort methods are insensitive in detecting rare outcomes, the authors used the more sensitive case-control technique to investigate whether pediatricians or nonpediatric generalists are better able to recognize severe acute illness or to avoid preventable complications. We selected "indicator" outcomes for four types of common acute illness and enrolled patients who had contacted a physician more than 24 hours prior to an index emergency room visit for the same illness. Case (N = 103) were patients with adverse outcomes, i.e. potentially preventable complications or delayed diagnosis, treatment, or referral. Controls (N = 103) were those with acceptable outcomes (uncomplicated illness or prompt diagnosis, treatment, or referral) and were matched according to age, SES, and illness type. The overall results indicate no evidence of better care by pediatricians: prior contract with a pediatrician was associated with an estimated relative risk (omega) of adverse outcome of 1.32 (95% confidence interval, 0.76-2.29). Within the two largest illness categories (gastroenteritis and pneumonia-respiratory), the results were similar: omega = 1.16 (0.68-1.99) and 2.23 (0.82-6.04), respectively. Potential confounders were controlled for by multiple logistic regression analysis, but omega remained virtually unchanged. Nor were the findings altered by elimination of outliers or restriction of "contact" to office visits only. The authors conclude that study pediatricians and generalists provide equivalent acute illness care to children and that the case-control method provides a feasible and highly suitable approach to the study of the quality of medical care.
Alternative medicine (AM) is of growing interest to the general public. Although several studies have been published concerning its use in adults, the use by children is less well known. The purpose of this study is to determine the frequency with which alternative medicine is employed in a pediatric population that also uses conventional medicine. A second goal is to investigate the sociodemographic factors that influence the choice of these forms of therapy.
Parents of children consulting the general outpatient clinic of a university hospital completed a self-administered questionnaire asking about previous use of AM for themselves or their children.
Based on 1911 completed questionnaires, 208 children (11%) previously consulted one or more AM practitioners. Chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy, and acupuncture together accounted for 84% of use. Children who used AM differed significantly from those who only used conventional medicine in that they were older than the nonusers, their mothers were better educated, and their parents also tended to use AM.
The findings indicate that AM is an aspect of child health care that no longer can be ignored. Being aware of these practices will enable physicians to discuss alternative therapies with parents in order to ensure the continuity of essential conventional treatments.
To examine the effectiveness of a home visit program to improve home safety and decrease the frequency of injury in children. We examined the effects of the program on 1) parental injury awareness and knowledge; 2) the extent that families used home safety measures; 3) the rate of injury; and 4) the cost effectiveness of the intervention.
A randomized, controlled trial.
A multicenter trial conducted at 5 hospitals in 4 Canadian urban centers.