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The aims of this study were to describe emergency department (ED) utilization by people in provincial prison and on release, and to compare with ED utilization for the general population.
We linked correctional and health administrative data for people released from provincial prison in Ontario in 2010. We matched each person by age and sex with four people in the general population. We compared ED utilization rates using generalized estimating equations, by sex and for high urgency and ambulatory care sensitive conditions.
People who experienced imprisonment (N = 48,861) had higher ED utilization rates compared with the general population (N = 195,444), with rate ratios of 3.2 (95% CI 3.0–4.4) for men and 6.5 (95% CI 5.6–7.5) for women in prison and a range of rate ratios between 3.1 and 7.7 for men and 4.2 and 8.8 for women over the 2 years after release. Most ED visits were high urgency, and between 1.0% and 5.1% of visits were for ambulatory care sensitive conditions. ED utilization rates increased on release from prison.
People experiencing imprisonment in Ontario have higher ED utilization compared with matched people in the general population, primarily for urgent issues, and particularly in women and in the week after release. Providing high-quality ED care and implementing prison- and ED-based interventions could improve health for this population and prevent the need for ED use.
Rates of opioid-related deaths have reached the level of national public health crisis in Canada. Community-based opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) programs distribute naloxone to people at risk, and the emergency department (ED) may be an underutilized setting to deliver naloxone to these people. The goal of this study was to identify Canadian emergency physicians’ attitudes and perceived barriers to the implementation of take-home naloxone programs.
This was an anonymous Web-based survey of members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. Survey questions were developed by the research team and piloted for face validity and clarity. Two reminder emails were sent to non-responders at 2-week intervals. Respondent demographics were collected, and Likert scales were used to assess attitudes and barriers to the prescription of naloxone from the ED.
A total of 459 physicians responded. The majority of respondents were male (64%), worked in urban tertiary centres (58.3%), and lived in Ontario (50.6%). Overall, attitudes to OEND were strongly positive; 86% identified a willingness to prescribe naloxone from the ED. Perceived barriers included support for patient education (57%), access to follow-up (44%), and inadequate time (37%). In addition to people at risk of overdose, 77% of respondents identified that friends and family members may also benefit.
Canadian emergency physicians are willing to distribute take-home naloxone, but thoughtful systems are required to facilitate opioid OEND implementation. These data will inform the development of these programs, with emphasis on multidisciplinary training and education.
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