PEDIATRICS recent issues

Relationships Between Material Hardship, Resilience, and Health Care Use

BACKGROUND:

Material hardship has been associated with adverse health care use patterns for children with special health care needs (CSHCN). In this study, we assessed if resilience factors were associated with lower emergency department (ED) visits and unmet health care needs and if they buffered associations between material hardship and health care use for CSHCN and children without special health care needs.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional study using the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, restricted to low-income participants (<200% federal poverty level). Separately, for CSHCN and children without special health care needs, weighted logistic regression was used to measure associations between material hardship, 2 resilience factors (family resilience and neighborhood cohesion), and 2 measures of use. Moderation was assessed using interaction terms. Mediation was assessed using structural equation models.

RESULTS:

The sample consisted of 11 543 children (weighted: n = 28 465 581); 26% were CSHCN. Material hardship was associated with higher odds of ED visits and unmet health care needs for all children. Resilience factors were associated with lower odds of unmet health care needs for CSHCN (family resilience adjusted odds ratio: 0.58; 95% confidence interval: 0.36–0.94; neighborhood cohesion adjusted odds ratio: 0.53; 95% confidence interval: 0.32–0.88). For CSHCN, lower material hardship mediated associations between resilience factors and unmet health care needs. Neighborhood cohesion moderated the association between material hardship and ED visits (interaction term: P = .02).

CONCLUSIONS:

Among low-income CSHCN, resilience factors may buffer the effects of material hardship on health care use. Future research should evaluate how resilience factors can be incorporated into programs to support CSHCN.

Neuropsychological Outcomes at 19 Years of Age Following Extremely Preterm Birth

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Children born extremely preterm (EP) (<26 weeks’ gestation) have lower cognitive scores and an increased rate of cognitive impairment compared with their term-born peers. However, the neuropsychological presentation of these EP individuals in adulthood has not been described. The aim of this study was to examine neuropsychological outcomes in early adulthood after EP birth in the 1995 EPICure cohort and to investigate if the rate of intellectual impairment changed longitudinally.

METHODS:

A total of 127 young adults born EP and 64 term-born controls had a neuropsychological assessment at 19 years of age examining general cognitive abilities (IQ), visuomotor abilities, prospective memory, and aspects of executive functions and language.

RESULTS:

Adults born EP scored significantly lower than term-born controls across all neuropsychological tests with effect sizes (Cohen’s d) of 0.7 to 1.2. Sixty percent of adults born EP had impairment in at least 1 neuropsychological domain; deficits in general cognitive functioning and visuomotor abilities were most frequent. The proportion of EP participants with an intellectual impairment (IQ <70) increased by 6.7% between 11 and 19 years of age (P = .02). Visuospatial functioning in childhood predicted visuomotor functioning at 19 years.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adults born EP continue to perform lower than their term-born peers in general cognitive abilities as well as across a range of neuropsychological functions, indicating that these young adults do not show improvement overtime. The prevalence of intellectual impairment increased from 11 years into adulthood.

Validation of a Parent-Reported Hospital-to-Home Transition Experience Measure

OBJECTIVES:

The Pediatric Transition Experience Measure (P-TEM) is an 8-item, parent-reported measure that globally assesses hospital-to-home transition quality from discharge through follow-up. Our goal was to examine the convergent validity of the P-TEM with existing, validated process and outcome measures of pediatric hospital-to-home transitions.

METHODS:

This was a prospective, cohort study of English-speaking parents and legal guardians who completed the P-TEM after their children’s discharge from a tertiary children’s hospital between January 2016 and October 2016. By using data from 3 surveys, we assessed convergent validity by examining associations between total and domain-specific P-TEM scores (0–100 scale) and 4 pediatric hospital-to-home transition validation measures: (1) Child Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Discharge Composite, (2) Center of Excellence on Quality of Care Measures for Children With Complex Needs parent-reported transition measures, (3) change in health-related quality of life from admission to postdischarge, and (4) 30-day emergency department revisits or readmissions.

RESULTS:

P-TEM total scores were 7.5 points (95% confidence interval: 4.6 to 10.4) higher for participants with top-box responses on the Child Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Discharge Composite compared with those of participants with lower Discharge Composite scores. Participants with highet P-TEM scores (ie, top-box responses) had 6.3-points–greater improvement (95% confidence interval: 2.8 to 9.8) in health-related quality of life compared with participants who reported lower P-TEM scores. P-TEM scores were not significantly associated with 7- or 30-day reuse.

CONCLUSIONS:

The P-TEM demonstrated convergent validity with existing hospital-to-home process and outcome validation measures in a population of hospitalized children.

Differences in the Receipt of Low-Value Services Between Publicly and Privately Insured Children

BACKGROUND:

Children frequently receive low-value services that do not improve health, but it is unknown whether the receipt of these services differs between publicly and privately insured children.

METHODS:

We analyzed 2013–2014 Medicaid Analytic eXtract and IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters databases. Using 20 measures of low-value care (6 diagnostic testing measures, 5 imaging measures, and 9 prescription drug measures), we compared the proportion of publicly and privately insured children in 12 states who received low-value services at least once or twice in 2014; the proportion of publicly and privately insured children who received low-value diagnostic tests, imaging tests, and prescription drugs at least once; and the proportion of publicly and privately insured children eligible for each measure who received the service at least once.

RESULTS:

Among 6 951 556 publicly insured children and 1 647 946 privately insured children, respectively, 11.0% and 8.9% received low-value services at least once, 3.9% and 2.8% received low-value services at least twice, 3.2% and 3.8% received low-value diagnostic tests at least once, 0.4% and 0.4% received low-value imaging tests at least once, and 8.4% and 5.5% received low-value prescription drug services at least once. Differences in the proportion of eligible children receiving each service were typically small (median difference among 20 measures, public minus private: +0.3 percentage points).

CONCLUSIONS:

In 2014, 1 in 9 publicly insured and 1 in 11 privately insured children received low-value services. Differences between populations were modest overall, suggesting that wasteful care is not highly associated with payer type. Efforts to reduce this care should target all populations regardless of payer mix.

Lung Function of Adults Born at Very Low Birth Weight

BACKGROUND:

Much remains unknown about the consequences of very low birth weight (VLBW) and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) on adult lungs. We hypothesized that VLBW adults would have impaired lung function compared with controls, and those with a history of BPD would have worse lung function than those without.

METHODS:

At age 26 to 30 years, 226 VLBW survivors of the New Zealand VLBW cohort and 100 term controls born in 1986 underwent lung function tests including spirometry, plethysmographic lung volumes, diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide, and single-breath nitrogen washout (SBN2).

RESULTS:

An obstructive spirometry pattern was identified in 35% VLBW subjects versus 14% controls, with the majority showing mild obstruction. Compared with controls, VLBW survivors demonstrated significantly lower forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC) ratio (FEV1/FVC), forced expiratory flow at 25% to 75% of FVC and higher residual volume (RV), RV/total lung capacity (TLC) ratio (RV/TLC), decreased diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide, and increased phase III slope for SBN2. The differences persisted after adjustment for sex and smoking status. Within the VLBW group, subjects with BPD showed significant reduction in FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and forced expiratory flow at 25% to 75% of FVC, and increase in RV, RV/TLC, and phase III slope for SBN2, versus subjects without. The differences remained after adjustment for confounders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adult VLBW survivors showed a higher incidence of airflow obstruction, gas trapping, reduced gas exchange, and increased ventilatory inhomogeneity versus controls. The findings suggest pulmonary effects due to VLBW persist into adulthood, and BPD is a further insult on small airway function.

Hearing in Schoolchildren After Neonatal Exposure to a High-Dose Gentamicin Regimen

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the association between gentamicin exposure in the neonatal period and hearing in school age.

METHODS:

This study included children exposed to a high-dose (6 mg/kg) gentamicin regimen as neonates (2004–2012), invited for follow-up at school age, and a healthy age-matched control group. We assessed hearing with pure tone audiometry including the extended high-frequency (EHF) range. Outcomes were average hearing thresholds in the midfrequencies (0.5–4 kHz) and the EHFs (9–16 kHz). The measures of gentamicin exposure were cumulative dose and highest trough plasma concentration. We used linear regression models to assess the impact of gentamicin exposure, and other peri- and postnatal morbidities, on hearing thresholds.

RESULTS:

A total of 219 gentamicin-exposed and 33 healthy-control children were included in the audiological analysis. In the gentamicin cohort, 39 (17%) had a birth weight <1500 g. Median cumulative doses and trough plasma concentrations were 30 (interquartile range 24–42) mg/kg and 1.0 (interquartile range 0.7–1.2) mg/L, respectively. Median hearing thresholds for the midfrequencies and the EHFs were 2.5 (0 to 6.3) dB hearing level and –1.7 (–5.0 to 5.0) dB hearing level, both of which were within the normal range. In an adjusted analysis, increasing hearing thresholds were associated with lower birth weight and postnatal middle-ear disease but not level of gentamicin exposure. After adjusting for birth weight, there was no difference in hearing threshold between the gentamicin-exposed cohort and healthy controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exposure to a high-dose gentamicin regimen in the neonatal period was not associated with an increase in hearing thresholds in schoolchildren being able to complete audiometry.

Prescription Opioid Misuse and Risky Adolescent Behavior

OBJECTIVES:

Misuse of opioid medications (ie, using opioids differently than how a doctor prescribed the medication) is common among US adolescents and associated with preventable health consequences (eg, severe respiratory depression, seizures, heart failure, and death).1 New guidelines and recommendations have made providers more attuned to overprescribing and more vigilant about screening for opioid misuse.2 We hypothesized that youth who misused prescription opioids were more likely to report engaging in a broad range of other risky behaviors.

METHODS:

We used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (n = 14 765), a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey of high school students. Students were sampled by using a 3-stage random cluster design. We conducted weighted logistic regressions to determine the strength of the association between our independent variable, ever misusing prescription opioids, and 22 dependent variables in the following categories: risky driving behaviors (4 variables), violent behaviors (3 variables), risky sexual behaviors (4 variables), substance use (10 variables), and suicide attempt (1 variable).

RESULTS:

In 2017, 14% of US adolescents reported ever misusing opioids. Those who misused prescription opioids were significantly more likely to have engaged in all 22 risky behaviors (adjusted odds ratios ranged from 2.0 to 22.3; P < .0001 for all tests) compared with other adolescents.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adolescents reporting ever misusing prescription opioids were more likely to have engaged in a broad range of risky behaviors. Health care providers screening for prescription opioid misuse may be ideally positioned to identify these high-risk youth and initiate early interventions.

Chemical-Biological Terrorism and Its Impact on Children

Chemical and biological events (including infectious disease outbreaks) may affect children disproportionately, and the threat of a chemical or biological attack remains in the United States and worldwide. Although federal programs and funding support a broad range of federal initiatives for public health preparedness and response, funding at the state and local levels has been flat or is decreasing, potentially leaving communities vulnerable. Consequently, pediatricians need to prepare and be ready to care for children in their communities before, during, and after a chemical or biological event, including during long-term recovery. Some medical countermeasures for particular chemical and biological agents have not been adequately studied or approved for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides resources and education on disaster preparedness and response, including information on the pediatrician’s role in disasters, pediatric medical countermeasures, and mental health after an event as well as individual and family preparedness. This policy statement addresses the steps that clinicians and policy makers can take to protect children and mitigate the effects of a chemical or biological attack.

Chemical-Biological Terrorism and Its Impact on Children

Children are potential victims of chemical or biological terrorism. In recent years, children have been victims of terrorist acts such as the chemical attacks (2017–2018) in Syria. Consequently, it is necessary to prepare for and respond to the needs of children after a chemical or biological attack. A broad range of public health initiatives have occurred since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. However, in many cases, these initiatives have not ensured the protection of children. Since 2001, public health preparedness has broadened to an all-hazards approach, in which response plans for terrorism are blended with those for unintentional disasters or outbreaks (eg, natural events such as earthquakes or pandemic influenza or man-made catastrophes such as a hazardous-materials spill). In response to new principles and programs that have evolved over the last decade, this technical report supports the accompanying update of the American Academy of Pediatrics 2006 policy statement "Chemical-Biological Terrorism and its Impact on Children." The roles of the pediatrician and public health agencies continue to evolve, and only their coordinated readiness and response efforts will ensure that the medical and mental health needs of children will be met successfully. In this document, we will address chemical and biological incidents. Radiation disasters are addressed separately.

Children Exposed to Maltreatment: Assessment and the Role of Psychotropic Medication

Pediatricians regularly care for children who have experienced child maltreatment. Child maltreatment is a risk factor for a broad range of mental health problems. Issues specific to child maltreatment make addressing emotional and behavioral challenges among maltreated children difficult. This clinical report focuses on 2 key issues necessary for the care of maltreated children and adolescents in pediatric settings: trauma-informed assessments and the role of pharmacotherapy in maltreated children and adolescents. Specific to assessment, current or past involvement of the child in the child welfare system can hinder obtaining necessary information or access to appropriate treatments. Furthermore, trauma-informed assessments can help identify the need for specific interventions. Finally, it is important to take both child welfare system and trauma-informed assessment approaches into account when considering the use of psychotropic agents because there are critical diagnostic and systemic issues that affect the prescribing and discontinuing of psychiatric medications among children with a history of child maltreatment.

Runaway Youth: Caring for the Nations Largest Segment of Missing Children

The largest segment of missing children in the United States includes runaways, children who run away from home, and thrownaways, children who are told to leave or stay away from home by a household adult. Although estimates vary, as many as 1 in 20 youth run away from home annually. These unaccompanied youth have unique health needs, including high rates of trauma, mental illness, substance use, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections. While away, youth who run away are at high risk for additional trauma, victimization, and violence. Runaway and thrownaway youth have high unmet health care needs and limited access to care. Several populations are at particular high risk for runaway episodes, including victims of abuse and neglect; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth; and youth in protective custody. Pediatricians and other health care professionals have a critical role to play in supporting runaway youth, addressing their unique health needs, fostering positive relationships within their families and with other supportive adults, and connecting them with available community resources. This report provides clinical guidance for pediatricians and other health care professionals regarding (1) the identification of adolescents who are at risk for running away or being thrown away and (2) the management of the unique medical, mental health, and social needs of these youth. In partnership with national, state, and local resources, pediatricians can significantly reduce risk and improve long-term outcomes for runaway youth.

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