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Trends in Frequent Attenders to Emergency Departments in a NSW regional health service

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Background: Emergency Department (ED) crowding affects healthcare quality and access. In

    Australia, ED presentations are increasing at approximately 3.4% per year. There is limited evidence

    about frequent ED attenders from a longitudinal perspective, especially accounting for their

    attendance at multiple facilities, a common occurrence in this patient group.

    Aims: To investigate 10 years of longitudinal ED data from five EDs within a regional Australian Local

    Health District, to determine: (i) whether there has been any change in the number frequent

    attenders and their demographic and clinical profile; and (ii) whether frequent attenders remain so

    over long periods.

    Methods: An ‘index’ ED presentation was identified with the following 12-month window used to

    identify frequent ED attendance. A threshold of 7 attendances per year was used to identify periods

    of frequent ED attendance. Unlike in other studies, this approach was applied across a large number

    of years to look at long-term frequent attendance patterns.

    Results: Throughout the 10-year period, approximately 82% of frequent ED attenders, were so for

    only 12 months, and were associated with injury, infections or illness of the ear, nose and throat. A

    further 12% had two 12-month frequent periods. The remaining 6% were persistent frequent

    attenders, more likely to be diagnosed with poisoning, psychiatric illness, alcohol/drug abuse, or

    neurological illness.

    Conclusion:

    The research findings highlight two distinct groups, those who attend within a 12-month period,

    versus those who attend frequently over a number of years. Appropriate interventions can be

    developed to provide care based on each group’s needs.

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • L. Lago, V. Westley-Wise, R. Zingel, J. Mullan, W. Triner & K. Eagar, "Trends in Frequent Attenders to Emergency Departments in a NSW regional health service", 10th Health Services & Policy Research Conference. (2017) 38-38.

Start Page


  • 38

End Page


  • 38

Abstract


  • Background: Emergency Department (ED) crowding affects healthcare quality and access. In

    Australia, ED presentations are increasing at approximately 3.4% per year. There is limited evidence

    about frequent ED attenders from a longitudinal perspective, especially accounting for their

    attendance at multiple facilities, a common occurrence in this patient group.

    Aims: To investigate 10 years of longitudinal ED data from five EDs within a regional Australian Local

    Health District, to determine: (i) whether there has been any change in the number frequent

    attenders and their demographic and clinical profile; and (ii) whether frequent attenders remain so

    over long periods.

    Methods: An ‘index’ ED presentation was identified with the following 12-month window used to

    identify frequent ED attendance. A threshold of 7 attendances per year was used to identify periods

    of frequent ED attendance. Unlike in other studies, this approach was applied across a large number

    of years to look at long-term frequent attendance patterns.

    Results: Throughout the 10-year period, approximately 82% of frequent ED attenders, were so for

    only 12 months, and were associated with injury, infections or illness of the ear, nose and throat. A

    further 12% had two 12-month frequent periods. The remaining 6% were persistent frequent

    attenders, more likely to be diagnosed with poisoning, psychiatric illness, alcohol/drug abuse, or

    neurological illness.

    Conclusion:

    The research findings highlight two distinct groups, those who attend within a 12-month period,

    versus those who attend frequently over a number of years. Appropriate interventions can be

    developed to provide care based on each group’s needs.

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • L. Lago, V. Westley-Wise, R. Zingel, J. Mullan, W. Triner & K. Eagar, "Trends in Frequent Attenders to Emergency Departments in a NSW regional health service", 10th Health Services & Policy Research Conference. (2017) 38-38.

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  • 38

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