repo.pdf (994.75 kB)
Download file

The "better data, better planning" census: a cross-sectional, multi-centre study investigating the factors influencing patient attendance at the emergency department in Ireland

Download (994.75 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 18.05.2022, 14:26 authored by Niamh M Cummins, Louise A Barry, Carrie Garavan, Collette Devlin, Gillian Corey, Fergal Cummins, Damien Ryan, Sinead CroninSinead Cronin, Emma Wallace, Gerard McCarthy, Rose Galvin
Background: Internationally Emergency Department (ED) crowding is a significant health services delivery issue posing a major risk to population health. ED crowding affects both the quality and access of health services and is associated with poorer patient outcomes and increased mortality rates. In Ireland the practising of "Corridor Medicine" and "Trolley Crises" have become prevalent. The objectives of this study are to describe the demographic and clinical profile of patients attending regional EDs and to investigate the factors influencing ED utilisation in Ireland.
Methods: This was a multi-centre, cross-sectional study and recruitment occurred at a selection of urban and rural EDs (n = 5) in Ireland throughout 2020. At each site all adults presenting over a 24 h census period were eligible for inclusion. Clinical data were collected via electronic records and a questionnaire provided information on demographics, healthcare utilisation, service awareness and factors influencing the decision to attend the ED.
Results: Demographics differed significantly between ED sites in terms of age (p ≤ 0.05), socioeconomic status (p ≤ 0.001), and proximity of health services (p ≤ 0.001). Prior to ED attendance 64% of participants accessed community health services. Most participants (70%) believed the ED was the "best place" for emergency care or attended due to lack of awareness of other services (30%). Musculoskeletal injuries were the most common reason for presentation to the ED in this study (24%) and almost a third of patients (31%) reported presenting to the ED for an x-ray or scan.
Conclusions: This study has identified regional and socioeconomic differences in the drivers of ED presentations and factors influencing ED attendance in Ireland from the patient perspective. Improved awareness of, and provision of alternative care pathways could potentially decrease ED attendances, which would be important in the context of reducing ED crowding during the COVID-19 pandemic. New strategies for integration of acute care in the community must acknowledge and plan for these issues as a universal approach is unlikely to be implemented successfully due to regional factors.

Funding

Health Service Executive Clinical Design and Innovation Office (2019–2021)

History

Comments

The original article is available at https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/

Published Citation

Cummins, NM, et al. The "better data, better planning" census: a cross-sectional, multi-centre study investigating the factors influencing patient attendance at the emergency department in Ireland. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22(1):471

Publication Date

9 April 2022

PubMed ID

35397588

Department/Unit

  • HRB Centre for Primary Care Research
  • General Practice

Publisher

Springer Nature.

Version

  • Published Version (Version of Record)