Ambulance use is associated with higher self-rated illness seriousness: user attitudes and perceptions

Toloo, Ghasem (Sam), Fitzgerald, Gerry, Aitken, Peter, Ting, Joseph Y.S., McKenzie, Kirsten, Rego, Joanna, and Enraght-Moony, Emma (2013) Ambulance use is associated with higher self-rated illness seriousness: user attitudes and perceptions. Academic Emergency Medicine , 20 (6). pp. 576-583.

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Abstract

Objectives: The objective was to study the role and effect of patients' perceptions on reasons for using ambulance services in Queensland, Australia.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted of patients (n = 911) presenting via ambulance or self-transport at eight public hospital emergency departments (EDs). The survey included perceived illness severity, attitudes toward ambulance, and reasons for using ambulance. A theoretical framework was developed to inform this study.

Results: Ambulance users had significantly higher self-rated perceived seriousness, urgency, and pain than self-transports. They were also more likely to agree that ambulance services are for everyone to use, regardless of the severity of their conditions. In compared to self-transports, likelihood of using an ambulance increased by 26% for every unit increase in perceived seriousness; and patients who had not used an ambulance in the 6 months prior to the survey were 66% less likely to arrive by ambulance. Patients who had presented via ambulance stated they considered the urgency (87%) or severity (84%) of their conditions as reasons for calling the ambulance. Other reasons included requiring special care (76%), getting higher priority at the ED (34%), not having a car (34%), and financial concerns (17%).

Conclusions: Understanding patients' perceptions is essential in explaining their actions and developing safe and effective health promotion programs. Individuals use ambulances for various reasons and justifications according to their beliefs, attitudes, and sociodemographic conditions. Policies to reduce and manage demand for such services need to address both general opinions and specific attitudes toward emergency health services to be effective.

Item ID: 29050
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1553-2712
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2013 05:28
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111709 Health Care Administration @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 35%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 35%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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