Beth Harvey, MD, FAAP
Lead Physician, P-TCPi
The physician champion team for the Pediatric Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (P-TCPi) has been partnering with the Washington State Medical Homes Partnership Program to decrease potentially avoidable Emergency Department utilization and to support family engagement and competency. We have piloted materials to help families improve health literacy, focusing on families with poor social determinants of health and those who are using the ED for avoidable reasons.
Scripts to talk with families have been developed by staff at the Washington State Medical Homes Partnership Program. Families have shared that they like their primary care providers to teach them and we have found that using handouts to share information has been well-received. Families don’t always want to take home handouts, but they are an easy way to generate discussion and can be used as an educational tool.
The first handouts we developed cover fever and how to use the medical home as the primary source of care and the place to turn for help. They are available to download in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Somali, and are fillable PDFs so you can enter your own clinic information at the bottom.
Other topics you may want to discuss with parents include upper respiratory infections, signs of respiratory distress, vomiting, and common conditions/infections that you expect to see seasonally because these are common reasons for avoidable ED visits.
Some clinics are providing kits with thermometers, NoseFridas, saline drops and prescriptions for acetaminophen and ibuprofen to have at home. Parents told us that they didn’t always know or remember how to use our after-hours access and weren’t sure when we were open. You cannot message your availability or share weekend and after-hours availability too often. Additionally, parents really appreciate your teaching and want to learn and understand how to care for their children and get help when needed. We hope you use these resources to support your families.
Reducing Potentially Avoidable ED Visits