BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES

Asthma is a leading cause of health care utilization in children and disproportionately affects historically marginalized populations. Yet, limited data exist on the role of caregiver language preference on asthma morbidity. The study aim was to determine whether caregiver non-English language preference (NELP) is associated with unscheduled asthma-related health care utilization in pediatric patients.

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort study using data from a population-level, disease-specific registry of pediatric patients with asthma living in the District of Columbia (DC). Patients aged 2 to 17 years were included and the study period was 2019. The primary exposure variable was language preference: English preferred (EP) or NELP by self-identified language preference. The primary outcome was unscheduled asthma-related health care utilization including emergency department visits, hospitalizations (ICU and non-ICU), and ICU visits alone. Logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (aORs).

RESULTS

Of the 14 431 patients included, 8.1% had NELP (1172 patients). In analyses adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, insurance status, diagnosis of persistent asthma, controller prescription, and encounter with a primary care provider, caregiver NELP was associated with an increased odds of having an asthma-related emergency department visit (aOR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.08–1.74), hospitalization (aOR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.18–2.72), and ICU visit (aOR, 4.37; 95% CI, 1.93–9.92). In the Hispanic subgroup (n = 1555), caregiver NELP was associated with an increased odds of having an asthma-related hospitalization (aOR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.02–2.93).

CONCLUSIONS

In the population of children in the District of Columbia with asthma, caregiver NELP was associated with increased odds of asthma-related health care utilization, suggesting that caregiver language preference is a significant determinant of asthma outcomes.

You do not currently have access to this content.