BACKGROUND

Pediatric patients from families with limited English proficiency (LEP) are at risk for health care disparities. We examined timeliness of analgesic administration in pediatric postoperative patients with a limb fracture from LEP versus non-LEP families.

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort study of children aged 1 year to <18 years of age, hospitalized to the general inpatient floor after surgical correction of single limb fractures between July 2016 and July 2019 were eligible. Patients whose consent was in a non-English language or for whom an interpreter was used were classified as from LEP families. The primary outcome was time to first analgesia. Secondary outcomes included time to first opioid, proportion with any analgesia and opioid analgesia, and number of pain assessments. Associations between LEP and outcomes were tested by using χ2 tests, Kaplan–Meier plots, and Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS

We examined 306 patients, of whom 59 (19%) were from LEP families. Children in LEP families were significantly less likely to receive any analgesia (86.4% vs 96.8%, P ≤ .01) and experienced longer time to first analgesia in unadjusted (hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval: 0.50–0.92) and adjusted analyses (hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval: 0.50–0.94). There was no significant association between LEP and time to first opioid, proportion given opioid analgesia, or number of pain assessments.

CONCLUSION

Hospitalized children from LEP families experience a longer time to analgesia administration after surgery. The mechanisms that lead to these differences in care must be identified so that interventions can be designed to address them.

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