Objective: The aims of the study were to determine the following: 1) if a fever education program (interactive or written) reduces parent fever anxiety; 2) if an interactive fever program was more effective as a teaching style than standard written material alone; and 3) if a fever program increases parent fever home management and reduces return emergency department (ED) visits.
Method: A quasiexperimental, pretest and post-test pilot study examining parental fever anxiety was conducted at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Eligible participants consisted of 87 parents and their children, aged 3 months to 5 years presenting with fever >38.4 degrees C, and without coexisting serious illness.
Results: Both the interactive fever education program and the standard written fever pamphlet were equally effective as teaching methods. Data revealed a 30% reduction in fever anxiety rated as moderate-severe on arrival to none-low post-fever education, increased parent fever home management skills with correct use of thermometer and antipyretics, and reduced unnecessary return ED visits.
Conclusion: Parents in the acute and nonacute care setting may benefit from an interactive fever education program that includes the definition and benefit of fever, the correct use of a thermometer, fever home management skills, and appropriate fever telephone follow-up.