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Sep 2011

Effects of the Limited English Proficiency of Parents on Hospital Length of Stay and Home Health Care Referral for Their Home Health Care–Eligible Children With Infections

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Divisions of Emergency Medical Services (Drs Levas and Dowd) and General Pediatrics (Dr Cowden), Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Missouri.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(9):831-836. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.61

Objective To examine the relationship of limited English proficiency of parents to hospital length of stay (LOS) and to home health care referral for their home health care eligible–children with infections.

Design A retrospective cohort study.

Setting Regional urban pediatric hospital.

Participants A total of 1257 children aged 0 to 18 years admitted for infection requiring prolonged antibiotic treatment during the period from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2008.

Main Exposures The cohort of patients were defined by primary caregivers who had to report on their English proficiency.

Main Outcome Measures Number of home health care referrals and LOS.

Results The median LOS for the study group was 4.1 days (interquartile range, 2.6-7.2 days). Limited English proficiency was associated with longer LOS (adjusted relative LOS, 1.6 [95% confidence interval, 1.1-2.3]), indicating that patients who had caregivers with limited English proficiency stayed 60% longer, on average, than patients with English-proficient primary caregivers. Insurance status (Medicaid), absence of a primary care provider, home health care utilization, and presence of comorbidity were also associated with longer LOS. Limited English proficiency was associated with a significantly decreased number of home health care referrals (odds ratio, 0.2 [95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.8]). Patient insurance (Medicaid) and presence of any comorbidity were also significantly associated with decreased number of home health care referrals.

Conclusions Among pediatric inpatients with infections requiring long-term antibiotics, a primary caregiver with limited English proficiency was identified as an important independent risk factor for both increased LOS and decreased number of home health care referrals.