Objective: This study was designed to assess the impact of a brief educational video shown to parents during an emergency department visit for minor febrile illnesses. We hypothesized that a video about home management of fever would reduce medically unnecessary return emergency department visits for future febrile episodes.
Methods: A convenience sample of 280 caregivers presenting to one urban pediatric emergency department was enrolled in this prospective, randomized cohort study. All the caregivers presented with a child aged 3 to 36 months with complaint of fever and were independently triaged as nonemergent. A pretest and posttest were administered to assess baseline knowledge and attitudes about fever. One hundred forty subjects were randomized to view either an 11-minute video about home management of fever or a control video about child safety. Subjects were tracked prospectively, and all return visits for fever complaints were independently reviewed by 3 pediatric emergency physicians to determine medical necessity.
Results: There were no differences between the fever video and the control groups in baseline demographics (eg, demographically comparable). The fever video group had a significant improvement in several measures relating to knowledge and attitudes about childhood fever. There was no statistical difference between the intervention and control groups in subsequent return visits or in the determination of medical necessity.
Conclusions: A brief standardized video about home management of fever improved caregiver knowledge of fever but did not decrease emergency department use or increase medical necessity for subsequent febrile episodes.