Hearing and vision screening program for school-aged children.
BACKGROUND:Hearing and vision screening programs for school-aged children are common, yet little is known about their impact. OBJECTIVE:To evaluate Michigan's screening program, in which local health department (LHD) staff screen school-aged children using standardized protocols. METHODS:This project was completed in three phases: interviews with officials and screening technicians from ten LHDs, audit of LHD records regarding outcomes of screening during the 2000-2001 school year, and telephone interviews with randomly selected parents of children with an abnormal screen. RESULTS:Variations in LHD program implementation pertained to methods for tracking outcomes, screening of older children, parental notification of screening results, and availability of follow-up hearing clinics. According to LHD records, documentation of follow-up examination after an abnormal screen was low (hearing 27%, vision 25%). In contrast, most parents reported follow-up (74% hearing, 76% vision), and many reported that this resulted in treatment (50% hearing, 74% vision). In logistic regression modeling, the odds of follow-up after hearing or vision screening according to parents was not associated with income, health insurance status, or race/ethnicity. For hearing screening, the odds of follow-up decreased with school grade (p <0.001); however, the proportion who received treatment did not vary by grade. For vision screening, follow-up did not vary by grade, but the proportion who received treatment increased with grade (p =0.05). CONCLUSIONS:According to parent reports, most children had follow-up after an abnormal screen, and the majority of these children received treatment. Screening school-aged children for sensory impairment appears to be an important public health function.
Kemper, AR; Fant, KE; Bruckman, D; Clark, SJ
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