Impact of Video Discharge Instructions for Pediatric Fever and Closed Head Injury from the Emergency Department

Shareen Ismail, Mark McIntosh, Colleen Kalynych, Madeline Joseph, Todd Wylie, Ryan Butterfield, Carmen Smotherman, Dale F. Kraemer, Sarah R. Osian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background Lack of understanding of diagnosis and disease process remains a major complaint of caregivers who bring their children to the pediatric emergency department (PED). Misunderstanding of diagnosis and discharge instructions can lead to unnecessary return visits and health disparities. Objective We attempted to determine if video discharge instructions when added to standard of care written and verbal instruction improved caregivers' comprehension of their child's diagnosis, disease process, and discharge instructions. Methods Caregivers who presented to the PED with a child's chief complaint of fever or closed head injury (CHI) were included and randomized into a control or intervention group. Each group received standard discharge instructions, and the intervention group additionally viewed a video. Participants completed a post-test on knowledge and were followed 2 weeks post-visit to determine follow-up care. Results Sixty-three caregivers participated in the study. Eleven participants had less than a high school (HS) education and 52 had more than a HS education. Thirty-one children presented with fever and 32 with CHI. The intervention group had significantly higher percentage of correct answers on postintervention tests (median [Mdn] = 88.89) than the control (Mdn = 75.73; p < 0.0001). Participants in the intervention group with less than a HS education (Mdn = 89.47) and more than HS education (Mdn = 88.89) had similar test scores (p = 0.13), whereas those in the control group with less than a HS education (Mdn = 66.67) had significantly lower test scores than those with more than a HS education (Mdn = 77.78; p = 0.03). Conclusion For caregivers with children who presented to the PED with fever and CHI, video discharge instructions improved caregiver comprehension of the child's diagnosis and disease process when added to verbal and written instructions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e177-e183
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • caregiver knowledge
  • discharge instructions
  • emergency medicine
  • emergency room
  • pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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