Journal 10, October 2007pages: 724-728
Background: Trauma management includes the care provided both in hospital and by emergency medical systems in the community. In many cases it is the parents who decide where to take an injured child for care, depending on the circumstances and severity of the injury, the personal characteristics of the injured or the carer and the availability and accessibility of services.
Objectives: To examine the use of pre-hospitalization services and reasons for their use by children and adolescents according to the injury and personal characteristics.
Methods: The study group comprised 924 Israeli citizens aged 0–17 years hospitalized for injuries in six hospitals across Israel. Carers were interviewed in the hospital regarding the circumstances of the injury event, the use of pre-hospitalization services, and sociodemographic characteristics. Data on the cause and nature of the injury were obtained from the hospital records.
Results: The proportion of severe injuries (Injury Severity Score 16+) was higher in Arab children than Jewish children (15% and 9% respectively). Sixty-three percent of the Arab children and 39% of the Jewish children used community services prior to hospitalization. The odds ratio of proceeding directly to the hospital was 0.44, 95% confidence interval 0.29–0.69, for the Arab compared to the Jewish children, controlling for severity, cause and nature of the injury, sociodemographic characteristics, and the reported availability of ambulance services.
Conclusions: More Arab than Jewish carers tended to seek care in the community for an injured child, but the effect of personal characteristics on seeking care was similar in both population groups. Issues of availability and accessibility of services may explain the differences.