Interventions designed to help Emergency Department (ED) staff manage frequent attenders are labour-intensive and only benefit a small sample of frequent attenders | Emergency Medicine Journal
We aimed to use the in-depth knowledge of health professionals with experience of working with ED frequent attenders to understand the challenges of managing this group of patients and their opinions on providing more appropriate support.
Twelve health professionals were interviewed. Three groups of frequent attenders were identified: people with long-term physical conditions, mental health problems and health-related anxiety. Underlying reasons for attendance differed between the groups, highlighting the need for targeted interventions. Suggested interventions included improving self-management of long-term physical conditions; creating a ‘go-to’ place away from the ED for patients experiencing a mental health crisis; increasing the provision of mental health liaison services; and for patients with health-related anxiety, the role of the GP in the patients’ care pathway was emphasised, as were the benefits of providing additional training for ED staff to help identify and support this group.
Full reference: Ablard, S. et al. (2017) Can more appropriate support and services be provided for people who attend the emergency department frequently? National Health Service staff views. Emergency Medicine Journal. Published Online First: 31 August 2017
Overcrowding of the emergency department is a growing problem. Frequent users contribute to the overcrowding problem in emergency departments | International Emergency Nursing
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
Birmingham, L.E. et al. BMC Emergency Medicine | Published online: 10 May 2017
Background: There is no common understanding of how needs of emergency department (ED) frequent users differ from other patients. This study sought to examine how to best serve this population. Examinations of why ED frequent users present to the ED, what barriers to care exist, and what service offerings may help these patients achieve an optimal level of health were conducted.
Conclusion: This study characterized ED frequent users and identified several opportunities to better serve this population. By understanding barriers to care from the patient perspective, health systems can potentially address unmet needs that prevent wellness in this population.
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