Researchers found that caregiver knowledge may predict the length of stay in children who are hospitalized with asthma exacerbations, and that caregiver knowledge can be improved after on-site education at the hospital.

In the study, led by Deepti Deshpande, MD, MPH, of Arizona University, a prolonged hospital stay was defined as any stay more than 2 days. After adjusting for age, baseline asthma control, pediatric ICU stay, parental education, payer and ethnicity, investigators found that children of caregivers with poor asthma knowledge were 4 times as likely to have a prolonged hospital stay than those with adequate knowledge (OR=4.44; 95% CI 1.075-18.34). Researchers defined poor caregiver knowledge as anyone who achieved a score of 1-4/6 on the Likert scale on questions about medications and triggers.

In the study, investigators monitored 73 children between the ages of 2 and 17 years who were hospitalized with asthma exacerbations between December 2012 and December 2013. Their caregivers completed questionnaires at the time of admission, then again at discharge, and once more 4 to 6 weeks after discharge.

After inpatient education, caregivers demonstrated an increase in general asthma knowledge (P=.002) between admission and the 4-6 week follow up period. Moreover, 90% and 73% of caregivers were able to correctly name their child’s rescue and controller medicines, respectively, at the 4-6 week follow up.