Triage of febrile children at a GP cooperative: determinants of a consultation

Miriam Montenij, MY Berger, Hans Wouden, BJ Broekman, Bart Koes

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Background Most febrile children contacting a GP cooperative are seen by a GP, although the incidence of serious illness is low. The guidelines for triage might not be suitable in primary care. Aim To investigate the determinants related to the outcome of triage in febrile children. Design of study Cross-sectional study. Setting Dutch GP cooperative. Method Receptionists filled out a triage questionnaire when parents called regarding their febrile child (aged between 3 months and 6 years) and estimated the level of concern of the parents. The outcome was either telephone advice, a consultation, or a home visit. Children were divided in subgroups based on age <18 months or >= 18 months, and prognostic models for a consultation were constructed. Results Of 422 children, 73% were seen by a GP. Children aged <18 months were more likely to be seen when their parents reported,less drinking or shortness of breath. In children aged >= 18 months, a duration of fever of >= 3 days, drowsiness, or a pale, ashen, or mottled skin were predictors of consultation. Children with alarm symptoms were seen according to the guideline. In both subgroups, children without alarm symptom's were more likely to be seen when their parents were concerned. Conclusion The available guideline was followed to a large extent at a GP cooperative. Because, surprisingly, most children were reported to have alarm symptoms, the validity of the triage questions asking parents about alarm symptoms is questionable.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)242-247
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number549
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-02-67-01

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