Management of respiratory tract infections in young children - A qualitative study of primary care providers' perspectives
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Respiratory tract infections in young children are the most common cause of general practice visits in Australia. Despite the availability of clinical practice guidelines, the treatment and management of respiratory tract infections in young children is inconsistent. The aim of the study was to explore the management of respiratory tract infections in young children from a multi-disciplinary perspective using across-sectional qualitative research design based on the theoretical domains framework and the Capability, Opportunity and Motivation-B model. In-depth interviews were conducted with 30 primary care providers to explore their knowledge, views and management of respiratory tract infections in young children. Interviews focused on symptomatic management, over-the-counter medications and antibiotic use, and data were thematically analysed. Our findings showed that factors such as primary care providers' time constraints, parental anxiety, general practitioners' perception of what parents want, perceived parental pressure, and fear of losing patients were some of the reasons why primary care providers did not always adhere to guideline recommendations. Primary care providers also provided conflicting advice to parents concerning over-the-counter medications and when children should resume normal activities. Overall, this study showed that complex interactions involving emotional and psychological factors influenced the decision making process of primary care providers' management of respiratory tract infections in young children. A team care approach with consistent advice, and improved communication between primary care providers and parents is vital to overcome some of these barriers and improve guideline adherence. The findings of this research will inform the development of interventions to better manage respiratory tract infections in young children.
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