Caregivers description of illness in children with asthma

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Luz S. Porter

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Heidi Cohen

Third Advisor's Name

Marjorie Burkett

Date of Defense



Recent studies identify infants, toddlers and preschoolers as high risk groups exhibiting vulnerability and increased morbidity rates associated with asthma. The data collected via review of ER medical records, were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, where appropriate. The study was conducted on a convenience sample of 110 asthmatic children brought to a Children's Emergency Room (ER) in West Palm Beach, Florida for urgent care. This retrospective descriptive correlational study examined the relationship between the caregiver's description of the child's presenting illness and degree of the asthma exacerbation upon admission to the emergency department for management. Relationships between/among these variables were also explored for children with or without a primary care provider and health insurance.

Research findings lend support to the hypothesis (p = .001) that the lesser the degree of severity of the child's asthma exacerbation, the less likely caregivers will describe respiratory distress as the presenting illness. However, the findings fail to support the hypotheses that caregivers of children with a primary care provider or health insurance coverage are more likely to appropriately describe the presenting illness as respiratory distress. Other findings point to the need for client-tailored management plans to maximize caregivers and/or child learning about asthma and its management, client education and follow up.



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