A significant number of children 0 to 5 years of age are seen in paediatric Accident & Emergency departments (A&E) with feverish illness. Most of these patients could safely be managed in a primary care setting, particularly with guidelines in place on how to optimally assess these children. Some patients, however, will require admission, either because of a potentially serious underlying disease or because of other factors, for example parental concern or difficulties in communication because of language barriers. An increase in the number of children attending A&E departments with feverish illness as well as a rise in the volume of admissions has been noted over time. To enable an appropriate adaptation of acute medical services for children an in depth understanding of the assessment and admission processes is crucial.
This study primarily aims to describe factors associated with hospitalisation of children aged 3 months to 5 years presenting with fever to an urban paediatric A&E departments by describing and analysing characteristics both of those patients admitted to hospital and those managed in the community. To complement this, information on the short-term healthcare utilization by families attending the emergency department because of feverish illness will be collected. The study will be carried out in one participating centre in Switzerland and the United Kingdom, respectively, to enable a head to head comparison of the assessment and admission practices in two European countries. The resulting data will be used as the basis for further research in this area and will provide information on how to optimally structure service provision in acute febrile childhood illness.