AAP: Physicians provide little information on firearm injury prevention

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Barriers to firearm safety counseling included political restraints, lack of physician awareness, and legal constraints.
Barriers to firearm safety counseling included political restraints, lack of physician awareness, and legal constraints.

(HealthDay News) — Many physicians do not provide firearm injury prevention information in the emergency department, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Sept. 16 to 19 in Chicago.

Using survey response data from 185 pediatric emergency medicine providers, Sheryl Yanger, MD, from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and colleagues examined the knowledge, opinions, and practice patterns with regard to firearm safety counseling and assessment in the emergency department.

The researchers found that although 90% of providers agreed that information they provide could help reduce pediatric injuries in general and 70% agreed that information may help prevent firearm injuries, only half as many clinicians reported sometimes or frequently providing counseling on firearm injury prevention compared with other injury prevention tips. Compared with barriers to general injury prevention counseling, barriers to firearm safety counseling included political restraints, lack of physician awareness, and legal constraints. About one-third of respondents were unsure of the legality of discussing firearms in their state. The biggest predictors of clinicians providing firearm safety counseling were feeling that the information could help reduce pediatric injuries, confidence in their ability to provide information, feeling that it was their responsibility to counsel on firearm safety, and age >45 years (adjusted odds ratios, 2.19, 4.05, 5.13, and 3.37, respectively).

"We hope this study will lead to future efforts to increase pediatric injury prevention and firearm safety counseling in the emergency department," Yanger said in a statement.

Reference

  1. Pediatric emergency department physicians wary of discussing firearm injury prevention [press release]. American Academy of Pediatrics. September 15, 2017.

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