Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. Children of parents expressing limited comfort with English demonstrated 2.1 higher odds of adverse events compared to children of parents expressing comfort with English.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Many individuals in the US express limited comfort with English (LCE), which can negatively impact healthcare. Further, children of parents expressing LCE may be at an elevated risk of adverse events due to communication difficulties. This multicenter, prospective cohort study, conducted from December 2014 to January 2017, aimed to investigate the association between parent LCE and adverse events among their hospitalized children. A total of 1,666 parents across seven hospitals provided data on language comfort and were included in subsequent analyses (M [SD] age = 35.4 [10.0] years, 80.5% female). Parents spoke English, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. Approximately 8.8% of these individuals expressed LCE, with 71.4% of this group preferring Spanish. Children of parents expressing LCE had 2.1 higher odds of having at least one adverse event when compared with children whose parents were comfortable with English (difference 8.1%, adjusted OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.2 to 3.7), after adjusting for parent education, race, length of stay, site, chronic conditions, and intervention period. With the same adjustments, children of parents with LCE were also more likely to experience at least one preventable adverse event (adjusted OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.2). Overall, this study demonstrates the need to improve communication between healthcare professionals and those who are less comfortable with English. Improvements in this area may contribute to reduced adverse events among this vulnerable pediatric population.

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