Abstract: What Do Parents of Adolescents Who Use Emergency Departments Think about Immunizing Adolescents There? (43rd National Immunization Conference (NIC))

PS42 What Do Parents of Adolescents Who Use Emergency Departments Think about Immunizing Adolescents There?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Grand Hall area
Sharon Humiston
Cynthia Rand
Peter G. Szilagyi
Crystal Taylor
Christina Albertin
Laura Shone
Allison M. Kennedy

Background:
In recent years several new vaccines have been recommended for administration to adolescents. While most adolescents are likely to receive these vaccines at physicians' offices, some adolescents, especially those who are uninsured, do not get preventive or episodic medical care at physicians' offices and instead seek medical care in hospital emergency departments.

Objectives:
To evaluate the opinions of the parents of adolescents who seek medical care in emergency departments about providing immunizations to their adolescents in the ED.

Methods:
A semi-structured 34 item interview about immunization in emergency departments was conducted with parents/guardians accompanying adolescents 14 to 18 years of age who presented to a large university medical center emergency department from January April 2008.

Results:
21 parents or guardians of adolescents ages 14-18 years were interviewed. Most could identify a primary care provider for their adolescent; however, half of ED visits were self-referred and 25% of parents indicated that their adolescent had come to the ED on several occasions. Parents generally had heard about HPV, Tdap and meningococcal conjugate vaccines. Parents universally favored the idea of EDs offering vaccines to adolescents presenting there with minor illnesses if ED personnel could verify that the adolescents needed the vaccines. All of the parents favored having ED personnel routinely check their adolescents' immunization status in immunization information systems at the time of ED visits. Parents often cited convenience, difficulty setting aside time to go to physicians' offices, and the benefit of having medical providers catch adolescents for immunization wherever and whenever they could as reasons for supporting adolescent immunization efforts in the ED.

Conclusions:
Parents and guardians of adolescents who use EDs favor ED personnel checking adolescents' immunization status at the time of ED visits for minor illnesses and offering vaccines then if needed. Further research is needed to assess ED's willingness/ability to provide this service.
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