Parental Hesitancy and Concerns around Accessing Paediatric Unscheduled Healthcare during COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Emma Nicholson, Thérèse McDonnell, Ciara Conlon, Michael Barrett, Fergal Cummins, Conor Hensey, Eilish McAuliffe
2020 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  
A decrease in attendance at emergency departments among paediatric populations has been reported during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The present study sought to understand parents' hesitancy and concerns around accessing healthcare during the pandemic using a cross-sectional survey of parents of children under the age of 16 (N = 1044) in Ireland. Multinomial and logistic regression analyses were used to determine the factors that influenced avoidance and hesitancy. In
more » ... 34% of participants stated that their child required healthcare during the pandemic, of whom 22% decided against seeking healthcare. Parents who reported being much more hesitant about accessing healthcare were more likely to report mild–moderate (Relative Risk Ratio (RRR) = 2.31, CI: 1.54–3.47) and severe–extremely severe stress (RRR: 3.37, CI: 1.81–6.27). Parents who understood government advice to mean avoiding health services were more likely to be hesitant to attend (RRR: 1.71, CI; 1.10–2.67). These effects held when restrictions were beginning to be lifted. Higher levels of stress were associated with a parent believing that the government advice meant that they should not attend health services (OR: 1.66, CI: 1.14–2.41). Public health messaging must ensure parents are reassured on the accessibility and safety of paediatric healthcare services as this public health emergency continues.
doi:10.3390/ijerph17249264 pmid:33322332 fatcat:ieug5r43d5hkfels2746izow4m