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

Emergency department frequent users

Birmingham, L.E. et al. BMC Emergency Medicine | Published online: 10 May 2017

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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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