METHODS: A prospective series of parents of children with FA(ages 0-12) seen at a tertiary allergy/immunology center completed an empowerment questionnaire. Information regarding FA-related hospitalizations, emergency department(ED) visits, and therapeutic interventions (antihistamines, epinephrine, steroids, intubations) were obtained from thorough chart review and were associated with empowerment scores.
RESULTS: Fifty-seven FA children were enrolled. Although empowerment scores were not correlated with the number of allergic reactions, ED visits or hospitalization; parents of children who needed epinephrine on arrival to ED were significantly less-empowered compared to those who never received epinephrine in ED; (mean±SD of 23.9 ± 2.76 vs.19.83±1.7, p=0.01). Parents of those children who needed epinephrine in the ED had a specifically less-empowered score in response to the question “can calmly handle crisis;”mean±SD of 1.7±0.9 vs. 1±0, p=0.02.
CONCLUSIONS: Parents of children who needed to receive epinephrine on arrival to ED had less-empowered scores, specifically feeling less prepared to handle a crisis like anaphylaxis, indicating they probably delayed giving epinephrine despite its necessity. Delay in delivery of epinephrine can potentially have a dramatic impact on the child’s life. These results call for parent/guardian education to improve their empowerment and ability to handle the crisis situations for their FA children.