Objectives: To assess parental perceptions of the importance of well-child care (WCC) in an inner-city clinic and to determine what type and format of information parents would like to obtain at WCC visits.
Methods: A convenience sample of parents accompanying a child aged 12 years or younger attending an inner-city pediatric teaching clinic completed self-administered written surveys. Parents ranked the importance of WCC overall, as well as its various components, using Likert scales. Parents also responded to checklist-style questions to indicate selected topics they would like to receive more information about and the format of information they preferred (written, talking to the physician, or videotapes in the waiting room).
Results: A total of 239 parents completed surveys. Overall they believed WCC was important (91% responded "extremely important" or "very important"). The individual WCC components ranked most important by parents were immunizations, growth and development issues, and the opportunity to discuss behavior or other concerns. The topics of information requested most frequently were how to help their child learn healthy eating habits (55%), how to help their child do well in school (53%), and how to keep their child safe outside of their home (49%). Written information was the format most frequently preferred (65%) by parents for receiving information.
Conclusions: Parents of inner-city children consider WCC important. They want to hear about child health-related issues and prefer a written format. This knowledge can guide health care providers and educators during WCC visits and while teaching.