Direct Costs of Acute Respiratory Infections in a Pediatric Long-term Care Facility

Meghan T. Murray; Elizabeth Heitkemper; Olivia Jackson; Natalie Neu; Patricia Stone; Bevin Cohen; Lisa Saiman; Gordon Hutcheon; Elaine L. Larson


Influenza Resp Viruses. 2016;10(1):34-36. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Acute respiratory tract infections (ARI) are a major burden in pediatric long-term care. We analyzed the financial impact of ARI in 2012–2013. Costs associated with ARI during the respiratory viral season were ten times greater than during the non-respiratory viral season, $31 224 and $3242 per 1000 patient-days, respectively (P < 0·001). ARI are burdensome for pediatric long-term care facilities not only because of the associated morbidity and mortality, but also due to the great financial costs of prevention.


Acute respiratory tract infections (ARI) account for an estimated 40% of all healthcare-associated infections in pediatric long-term care facilities (pLTCFs).[1,2] Residents in pLTCFs are at increased risk for ARI due to their complex and/or chronic medical conditions, frequent device utilization, immunologic immaturity, and behavioral factors.[2,3] Additionally, due to the home-like environment, residents often receive care from a variety of providers including medical and nursing staff, therapeutic staff, school teachers and aides, and volunteers; these frequent interactions with multiple providers place the children at even greater risk for ARI.[2] Outbreaks of ARI are common in pLTCFs and often affect a large proportion of the resident population, particularly during the respiratory viral season.[4,5] These infections are not only taxing on both the residents and the staff, but are likely a large financial and resource burden as well.[6,7]

While previous studies have reported on the comorbidities, mortality, and hospitalizations associated with ARI, few, if any, studies have examined the financial burden of these infections in pLTCFs. The care of children with chronic and complex medical disorders is costly, but little is known about the added costs of ARI in this population.[8] Therefore, the aim of this cost of illness study was to calculate the attributable cost of ARI in pLTCFs during the respiratory viral season as compared to the remainder of the year.