Background: Medical emergencies such as anaphylaxis may require immediate use of emergency medication. Because of the low adherence of chronic patients (ie, carrying anti-anaphylactic medication) and the potentially long response time of emergency medical services (EMSs), alternative approaches to provide immediate first aid are required. A smartphone-based emergency response community (ERC) was established for patients with allergies to enable members to share their automatic adrenaline injector (AAI) with other patients who do not have their AAI at the onset of anaphylactic symptoms. The community is operated by a national EMS. In the first stage of the trial, children with food allergies and their parents were invited to join. Objective: This study aimed to identify the factors that influence the willingness to join an ERC for a group of patients at risk of anaphylaxis. Methods: The willingness to join an ERC was studied from different perspectives: the willingness of children with severe allergies to join an ERC, the willingness of their parents to join an ERC, the willingness of parents to enroll their children in an ERC, and the opinions of parents and children about the minimum age to join an ERC. Several types of independent variables were used: demographics, medical data, adherence, parenting style, and children's autonomy. A convenience sample of children and their parents who attended an annual meeting of a nonprofit organization for patients with food allergies was used. Results: A total of 96 questionnaires, 73 by parents and 23 by children, were collected. Response rates were approximately 95%. Adherence was high: 22 out of 23 children (96%) and 22 out of 52 parents (42%) had their AAI when asked. Willingness to join the community was high among parents (95%) and among children (78%). Willingness of parents to enroll their children was 49% (36/73). The minimum age to join an ERC was 12.27 years (SD 3.02) in the parents’ opinion and 13.15 years (SD 3.44) in the children’s opinion. Conclusions: Parents’ willingness to join an ERC was negatively correlated with parents’ age, child’s age, and parents’ adherence. This can be explained by the free-rider effect: parents who carried an AAI for their young child, but had low adherence, wanted to join the ERC to get an additional layer of emergency response. Children’s willingness to join the community was positively correlated with age and negatively correlated with the child’s emotional autonomy. Parents’ willingness to enroll their children in an ERC was positively correlated with child’s age and negatively correlated with parents’ adherence: again, this can be explained by the aforementioned free-rider effect. Parents’ and children’s opinions about the minimum age to join an ERC were negatively correlated with protective parenting style and positively correlated with monitoring parenting style.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Bar-Ilan University and by the Research Committee of MDA.
©Michael Khalemsky, David G. Schwartz, Tamar Silberg, Anna Khalemsky, Eli Jaffe, Raphael Herbst.