Who accompanies children to a dental hospital appointment?
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Aim: To determine who accompanies paediatric dental patients to their appointments, in a teaching hospital setting. Study Design: Data were recorded prospectively for children attending the Paediatric Dentistry clinic of the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, Sheffield, England, over 4 months which included two school holiday periods. The data were recorded on a standardised data collection sheet, which included age and gender of the patient; number/s of accompanying adults and children and their relationship to the patient; the appointment session and appointment type. Results: A total of 394 paediatric dental visits were recorded. Patients were of a mean age of 10 (range 1–17 years). Most visits were for treatment (44.7%) and review (39.8%), with a much smaller proportion being new patient assessments (8.9%) and emergency appointments (6.6%). The numbers of afternoon and morning sessions recorded were approximately similar and 35% of the visits were recorded in a school holiday day. The majority of patients attended with at least one parent (91.6%). A parent was most likely to attend a new patient assessment (97.1%) or review visit (94.3%). Parental presence was less likely for treatment (89%) and least likely for emergency visits (84%). Most patients attended with their mother (62.1 %). Patients were less frequently accompanied by parents (13.1%), their father (12.1%) and one or both grandparents (4.3%). Smaller proportions were accompanied by older siblings, a step parent, other relatives or foster carers. Two patients attended unaccompanied. The time of day, or whether it was a school holiday period or not, did not influence parental presence or the numbers of adults accompanying patients. However the additional presence of other children (non patients) was more likely on morning sessions and during school holidays. Statistics: One way analysis of variance (ANOVA), an independent sample t-test or chi-squared tests were undertaken as appropriate to determine whether there were any significant differences in parental or child accompaniment according to the patient’s age; gender; type of appointment or time of appointment. Significance levels were set at P<0.05. Conclusions: It was of concern that a parent was least likely to accompany a child for an emergency visit when a history and consent may assume the greatest importance.
Key wordsparental presence accompanying adult paediatric dental appointments
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