Contributing Factors of Frequent Use of the Emergency Department

Overcrowding of the emergency department is a growing problem. Frequent users contribute to the overcrowding problem in emergency departments | International Emergency Nursing

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Introduction: Overcrowding in emergency departments is an issue that has a negative impact worldwide. As attendance in emergency departments has increased, the ability to provide critical services to patients suffering from actual medical emergencies in a timely manner has decreased as these departments are many times at or over capacity. One patient population whose negative influence has been researched with regard to their impact on the overcrowding issue is that of the frequent user.

Results: A review of the literature identified two predominant factors related to frequent users in the emergency department: a lack of awareness of medical necessity and issues of access.

Discussion: To address the frequent users in emergency departments, implications for practice need to be explored and implemented. Implications for practice include education of medical necessity for the frequent users, expansion of the pre-hospital role in primary care and inappropriate use prevention, and improvement of access to alternative healthcare services.

Full reference: Burns, T.R. (2017) Contributing Factors of Frequent Use of the Emergency Department: A Synthesis. International Emergency Nursing. Published online: 5 June 2017

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