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UCLA Research Shows Dramatic Savings for Medicaid When Head Start Parents Learn to Care for Kids' Illnesses
Date:11/7/2007

tart agencies in the United States.

"Head Start parents want to be the first line of defense in their children's health care, and our research leaves no doubt that they can be, once they have the tools to make the best choices," said Ariella Herman, Ph.D., Research Director of the Health Care Institute at UCLA Anderson School of Management and author of the study(1), which builds on the findings of the Institute's groundbreaking pilot study that was published in 2004.

What to Do at 99.5 Degrees F

Parents were surveyed about their family's health care habits three months prior to the training and six months afterward.

At the outset, 60 percent said that they did not have a health book at home to reference when a child fell ill. As part of the study, each Head Start family was given a low-literacy medical guide, What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick, by Gloria Mayer, R.N., and Ann Kuklierus, R.N., which offers clear information on more than 50 common childhood illnesses. The Health Care Institute training is adapted to various languages and cultural needs of the participating families.

Prior to the training, parents said they were "very confident" about caring for their sick children -- yet, in reality 69 percent reported taking a child to a doctor or clinic at the first sign of illness. Almost 45 percent said they would take their child to a clinic or emergency room for a cough rather than provide care at home, with 43 percent doing so for a mild temperature of 99.5 degrees F.

Post training, researchers found a marked improvement in parents' self confidence, with only 32 percent indicating that they would still go first to a doctor or clinic. More significantly, the number of parents using the medical guide as a first source of help jumped from five percent to 48 percent, indicating a better understanding and higher comfort level in dealing with common childhood illnesses.

"The Health Care Institute has provided a creative and
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SOURCE UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Institute
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