Length of Stay for Patients With Limited English Proficiency in Pediatric Urgent Care

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2020 May;59(4-5):421-428. doi: 10.1177/0009922820902439. Epub 2020 Jan 29.


This retrospective chart review compared the length of stay (LOS) of families with limited English proficiency (LEP) versus English-speaking families seen in 3 pediatric urgent care centers (PUCCs). Visits were included for patients aged 2 months to 17 years seen between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016, with 1 of 5 primary diagnoses. For each LEP encounter, we randomly selected 3 English-speaking encounters within the same PUCC and diagnosis class. We compared overall LOS between LEP and English-speaking encounters. Of our entire sample, 184 (1.03%) were LEP encounters, of which 145 (78.8%) preferred Spanish. Comparing the LEP visits to 552 matched English-speaking visits, we found a significant difference in average LOS (LEP 85.5 minutes; English-speaking 76.4 minutes) and in prescriptions provided (P = .005) but not in triaged acuity nor number of medications administered, laboratory or radiological studies, or suction treatments. This study serves as a starting point to better care for patients/families with LEP in PUCCs.

Keywords: interpreter; limited English proficiency; pediatrics; urgent care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Limited English Proficiency*
  • Male
  • Missouri
  • Retrospective Studies