Randomised controlled trial of an intervention to improve parental knowledge and management practices of fever

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Kelly, Maria
Sahm, Laura J.
McCarthy, Suzanne
O'Sullivan, Ronan
McGillicuddy, Aoife
Shiely, Frances
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Background: We know that parents require resources which can assist them to improve fever knowledge and management practices. The purpose of this study, using an RCT, was to examine the effectiveness of an information leaflet at increasing parental knowledge of fever, specifically temperature definition. Methods: A prospective, multi-centre, randomised, two-parallel arm, controlled trial with blinded outcome ascertainment was conducted. Parents presenting at purposively selected healthcare facilities who had a child aged ≤5 years of age were invited to participate. An information leaflet for use in the trial was designed based on previous studies with parents. Parents in the intervention arm read an information leaflet on fever and management of fever in children, completed a short questionnaire at Time 1 (T1) and again 2 weeks after randomisation at Time 2 (T2). Parents in the control arm did not receive the fever information leaflet but completed the same questionnaire as the intervention arm at T1 and againat T2. The primary outcome was the correct definition of fever (higher than ≥38 °C). Results: A total of 100 parents participated in the study at T1. A greater proportion of the intervention group (76%) than the control group (28%) selected the correct temperature (≥38 °C) at T1. 76% of the intervention arm correctly identified “higher than ≥38°C” as the temperature at which a fever is said to be present compared to 28% of the control arm. After 2 weeks, there was an increase of 6% of parents in the intervention arm (increase to 82.4%) who gave the correct temperature compared to just a 2.8% increase in the control arm (increase to 30.8%). Univariate logistic regression showed that parents in the intervention arm were significantly more likely to give the correct answer at both time-points (T1: OR 8.1; CI 95% 3.3–19.9: p < 0.01; T2: OR 10.5; CI 95% 3.4–32.0: p < 0.01). Conclusions: Our RCT of this simple educational intervention has been shown to improve parental understanding of fever knowledge and correct management strategies. Education interventions providing simple, clear information is a key step to decreasing parental mismanagement of fever and febrile illness in children.
Fever , Knowledge , Parent , Randomised controlled trial , Information leaflet
Kelly, M., Sahm, L., McCarthy, S., O’Sullivan, R., Mc Gillicuddy, A. and Shiely, F. (2019) 'Randomised controlled trial of an intervention to improve parental knowledge and management practices of fever', BMC Pediatrics, 19(1), 447. (10pp.) doi: 10.1186/s12887-019-1808-9
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