Behavior of Parents Seeking Care From Emergency Services Due to Fever in Children

J Nurs Scholarsh. 2020 Mar;52(2):136-144. doi: 10.1111/jnu.12538. Epub 2020 Jan 16.


Purpose: To explore the behavior of parents, with and without health training, seeking care from emergency services due to their child's fever.

Design and setting: A qualitative study based on Grounded Theory using a triangulated sample (theoretical sampling and snowball sampling) of parents of children 0 to 12 years old who received care for fever in the emergency primary care services of two Spanish municipalities.

Methods: Data saturation was achieved after eight focus groups segmented by gender, place of residence, and education (57 participants). Data analysis followed the constant comparative method and coding process.

Findings: The parents attended the emergency department when fever was high or persistent and to determine the cause. The reasons for avoiding the emergency department differed; whereas the health professional parents avoided consulting other colleagues as they felt questioned, for parents who were not healthcare professionals, there was a fear of acquiring an infection.

Conclusions: Parents' search for healthcare differs according to their background and education.

Clinical relevance: These results provide key information for the design of care plans to improve health care and patient satisfaction.

Keywords: Child; fathers; fever; grounded theory; mothers.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Emotions
  • Family
  • Female
  • Fever / nursing*
  • Fever / therapy*
  • Focus Groups
  • Grounded Theory
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing / methods*
  • Parents / education*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Primary Health Care
  • Qualitative Research
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Spain / epidemiology