Children from Single-Parent Homes More Likely to Revisit Hospital for Asthma

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Children from single-parent homes admitted to the hospital for asthma or wheezing are 50 percent more likely to return to the hospital within a year than children from two-parent homes, according to a new Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study.

“Financial strain” and competing priorities at home may contribute to the greater number of hospital readmissions and emergency visits, according to Terri Moncrief, MD, a physician in the division of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children’s and lead author of the study.

Dr. Moncrief will present her research Nov. 5 and 6 at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) in Boston.

“Parents play an important role in controlling their children’s asthma,” says Dr. Moncrief. “It takes time, energy and resources to follow their physicians’ treatment plans and adhere to medication regimens. It is essential to understand these constraints and identify innovative interventions to help parents better manage their children’s symptoms and keep asthma under control.”

Dr. Moncrief and her colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s studied 601 children and adolescents admitted to Cincinnati Children’s for asthma or wheezing. They analyzed four measures of strain:

  • financial, defined as living in homes with annual incomes under $60,000
  • psychological, defined as a high score on a validated mental health screen
  • time, defined as a higher ratio of children to adults in the home
  • mobility, defined as a child being routinely cared for outside the home

Time and mobility strain were associated with a higher rate of readmission and emergency visits.

Uncontrolled asthma accounts for approximately 500,000 hospitalizations, 1.8 million emergency room visits and 10.5 million doctor office visits each year, according to the ACAAI.

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News and World Report's 2011 Best Children's Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for gastroenterology and in the top 10 for all pediatric specialties - a distinction shared by only two other pediatric hospitals in the United States. Cincinnati Children's is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at

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