'Did not waits': a regional Australian emergency department experience

Blake, Denise F., Dissanayake, Dananjaya B., Hay, Robyn M., and Brown, Lawrence H. (2014) 'Did not waits': a regional Australian emergency department experience. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 26 (2). pp. 145-152.

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Abstract

Objective: Describe the characteristics, reasons for leaving and outcomes of patients who did not wait (DNW) to be seen by a health practitioner in a regional Australian ED.

Methods: Prospective observational study of a convenience sample of ED DNW patients presenting to The Townsville Hospital between June 2011 and July 2012. Seven days from each month were selected, and DNW patients presenting on those days were enrolled. An investigator attempted to contact every DNW patient by telephone in the following week to elicit reasons for leaving, subsequent health contacts, outcomes and suggestions for system improvements. Additional outcome information was obtained from hospital electronic medical records.

Results: Nearly 15 000 patients presented on the study days, with 648 (4.3%) DNWs: 415 (64.0%) adults, 193 (29.8%) children (1–16 years old) and 40 (6.2%) infants. Thirty-eight (5.9%) patients who DNW were Australasian Triage Scale (ATS) category 3, 546 (84.3%) were ATS category 4 and 64 (9.9%) were ATS category 5. Most DNW patients presented on Sundays and between 1600 and 2359. Just over half of the patients who DNW (52.9%) sought additional medical treatment, with 4.9% requiring subsequent hospital admission. Three psychiatric patients who DNW required urgent mental health interventions organised by the investigators. Frustration with perceived waiting times was the most common reason for leaving without being seen.

Conclusions: Regional Australia ED patients who DNW often still require medical care, with approximately 1 in 20 requiring subsequent hospital admission. Patients with psychiatric conditions who DNW might be at particular risk.

Item ID: 35326
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1742-6723
Funders: Private Practice, Research and Education Fund Townsville, Clinical Practice Improvement Centre of Queensland Health
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2014 04:37
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110305 Emergency Medicine @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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