Why some children hospitalized for pneumonia do not consult with a general practitioner before the day of hospitalization

Eur J Gen Pract. 2013 Dec;19(4):213-20. doi: 10.3109/13814788.2013.795538. Epub 2013 Jul 1.


Background: Early consultation in primary care may provide an opportunity for early intervention in children developing pneumonia, but little is known about why some children do not consult a general practitioner (GP) before hospitalization.

Objectives: To identify differences between children who consulted a GP and children who did not consult a GP before the day of hospital presentation with pneumonia or empyema.

Methods: Carers of children aged six months to 16 years presenting to hospital with pneumonia or empyema completed a questionnaire, with a subset participating in an interview to identify physical, organizational and psychological barriers to consultation. Responses from those who had consulted a GP before the day of hospital presentation were compared with those who had not on a range of medical, social and environmental variables.

Results: Fifty seven (38%) of 151 participants had not consulted a GP before the day of hospital presentation. On multivariate analysis, illness duration ≥ 3 days (odds ratio [OR] 4.36, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.67-11.39), prior antibiotic use (OR: 10.35, 95% CI: 2.16-49.55) and home ownership (OR: 3.17, 95% CI: 1.07-9.37) were significantly associated with early GP consultation (P < 0.05). Interviews with 28 carers whose children had not seen a GP before the day of presentation revealed that most had not considered it and/or did not think their child's initial symptoms were serious or unusual; 11 (39.3%) had considered consulting a GP but reported barriers to access.

Conclusion: Lack of early GP consultation was strongly associated with rapid evolution of pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Empyema / therapy*
  • Female
  • General Practitioners / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pneumonia / therapy*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors