Parents’ childhood fever management : community survey and instrument development

Walsh, Anne M., Edwards, Helen E., & Fraser, Jennifer A. (2008) Parents’ childhood fever management : community survey and instrument development. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 63(4), pp. 376-388.

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Aim: This paper is a report of a study to explore Australian parents’ knowledge, beliefs, practices and information sources about fever management and develop a scale to measure parents’ fever management practices. Background: Parental fever phobia and overuse of antipyretics to reduce fever continue. No scales to measure parents’ fever management practices are available. Method: A community-based, postal survey was carried out in 2005 with 401 Australian parents of well children aged 6 months to 5 years. Respondents were recruited through advertising (48.4%), face-to-face (26.4%) and snowball (24.4%) methods. A 33-item instrument was developed; construct and content validity were determined by an expert panel and item reliability by test-retest. Results: Moderate fever (40.0ºC±1.0ºC) was reported to be harmful (88%), causing febrile convulsions (77.7%). Usual practices targeted temperature reduction, antipyretic administration (87.8%), temperature monitoring (52.5%). Fewer evidence-based practices, such as encouraging fluids (49.0%) and light clothing (43.8%), were reported. Positive changes over time (36.4%) included less concern and delayed or reduced antipyretic use. Negative practice changes (22.7%) included greater concern and increased antipyretic use. Medical advice was sought for illness symptoms (48.7%) and high (37.4%) or persistent (41.5%) fevers. Fever management was learnt from doctors, family and friends and experience, while receiving conflicting information (41.9%) increased concerns and created uncertainty about best practice.
Conclusion: Parents need consistent evidence-based information about childhood fever management. The Parental Fever Management Scale requires further testing with difference populations and in different cultures and healthcare systems to evaluate its usefulness in nursing practice and research.

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44 citations in Scopus
30 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 17059
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The definitive version is available at
Keywords: children, community, fever, instrument development, nursing, Parent Fever Management Scale, survey
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04721.x
ISSN: 0309-2402
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Community Child Health (111704)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Nursing not elsewhere classified (111099)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher
Deposited On: 23 Dec 2008 01:06
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:48

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