Background: Emergency departments (EDs) are commonly used by pediatric patients for nonemergent reasons. There is little information regarding how parents perceive their use of the ED and primary care availability during evening hours.
Methods: We conducted a survey of parental perspectives of ED use during evening hours. Participants were parents of pediatric patients (age 0-18 years) at a large quaternary medical center's ED presenting between 17:00 and 22:00 hours from January 15, 2013 to March 12, 2013.
Results: Most patients had a primary care pediatrician (98/102, 96.1%); 80% of their pediatricians (78/98) did not have evening hour availability. Overall, 46.7% of parents would have preferred to go to their primary care pediatrician.
Conclusions: Many parents who expect outpatient treatment prefer to take their child to a primary care pediatrician during evening hours, but present to the ED because of lack of primary care access.
Keywords: emergency department utilization; inappropriate use of health services; pediatric primary care; primary care office utilization.
© The Author(s) 2014.