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The goal of this study was to examine the mental health needs of children and youth who present to the emergency department (ED) for mental health care and to describe the type of, and satisfaction with, follow-up mental health services accessed.
A 6-month to 1.5-year prospective cohort study was conducted in three Canadian pediatric EDs and one general ED, with a 1-month follow-up post-ED discharge. Measures included 1) clinician rating of mental health needs, 2) patient and caregiver self-reports of follow-up services, and 3) interviews regarding follow-up satisfaction. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and the Fisher’s exact test to compare sites.
The cohort consisted of 373 children and youth (61.1% female; mean age 15.1 years, 1.5 standard deviation). The main reason for ED presentations was a mental health crisis. The three most frequent areas of need requiring action were mood (43.8%), suicide risk (37.4%), and parent-child relational problems (34.6%). During the ED visit, 21.6% of patients received medical clearance, 40.9% received a psychiatric consult, and 19.4% were admitted to inpatient psychiatric care. At the 1-month post-ED visit, 84.3% of patients/caregivers received mental health follow-up. Ratings of service recommendations were generally positive, as 60.9% of patients obtained the recommended follow-up care and 13.9% were wait-listed.
Children and youth and their families presenting to the ED with mental health needs had substantial clinical morbidity, were connected with services, were satisfied with their ED visit, and accessed follow-up care within 1-month with some variability.
Intravenous lipid emulsion (ILE) has been used increasingly over the last decade for a range of drug overdoses. Although the use of ILE in local anesthetic toxicity (LAST) is well established, the hemodynamic effectiveness of ILE in non-LAST poisonings is still unclear. Thus, the primary objective of this study was to examine a cohort of poisoned patients in whom ILE was administered.
Consecutive patients were identified by calls to a regional poison center from May 1, 2012 to May 30, 2014. Patients were enrolled if they ingested a drug, developed hemodynamic instability, failed conventional treatment, and received ILE therapy. Data were collected by medical record review. The primary outcome was the change in mean arterial pressure (MAP) in the first hour after ILE administration. Secondary outcomes included survival, length of stay, and the effect of drug class on patient outcome.
Thirty-six patients were enrolled. Agents ingested included calcium channel blockers and beta blockers (10/36, 27.8%), tricyclic antidepressants (5/36, 13.9%), bupropion (3/36, 8.3%), and antiepileptic agents (1/36, 2.8%). Seventeen patients (47.2%) ingested multiple agents. Twenty-five patients survived (69.0%). Overall, MAP increased by 13.79 mm Hg (95% CI 1.43–26.15); this did not meet our a priori definition of clinical significance.
Our study did not find a clinically important improvement in MAP after ILE administration. Until future research is done to more definitively study its efficacy, ILE should remain a potential treatment option for hemodynamically unstable overdose patients only after conventional therapy has failed.
We explored caregiver perspectives on their children’s pain management in both a pediatric (PED) and general emergency department (GED). Study objectives were to: (1) measure caregiver estimates of children’s pain scores and treatment; (2) determine caregiver level of satisfaction; and (3) determine factors associated with caregiver satisfaction.
This prospective survey examined a convenience sample of 97 caregivers (n=51 PED, n=46 GED) with children aged <17 years. A paper-based survey was distributed by research assistants, from 2009–2011.
Most caregivers were female (n=77, 79%) and were the child’s mother (n=69, 71%). Children were treated primarily for musculoskeletal pain (n=41, 42%), headache (n=16, 16%) and abdominal pain (n=7, 7%). Using a 100 mm Visual Analog Scale, the maximum mean reported pain score was 75 mm (95% CI: 70–80) and mean score at discharge was 39 mm (95% CI: 32–46). Ninety percent of caregiver respondents were satisfied (80/89, 90%); three (3/50, 6%) were dissatisfied in the PED and six (6/39, 15%) in the GED. Caregivers who rated their child’s pain at ED discharge as severe were less likely to be satisfied than those who rated their child’s pain as mild or moderate (p=0.034).
Despite continued pain upon discharge, most caregivers report being satisfied with their child’s pain management. Caregiver satisfaction is likely multifactorial, and physicians should be careful not to interpret satisfaction as equivalent to adequate provision of analgesia. The relationship between satisfaction and pain merits further exploration.
Goals for this study were to characterize the substances being used by youth who presented to an emergency department (ED), their demographic descriptors, and to describe the associated acute morbidity and mortality.
We conducted a retrospective review of all youth, ages 10–16 years, who presented to a pediatric ED with complaints related to recreational drug use (n=641) for 2 years ending on December 31, 2009.
The median age of patients was 15 years; 56% were female. Six percent of patients were homeless, and 21% were wards of the state. The most frequent ingestions included ethanol (74%), marijuana (20%), ecstasy (19%), and medications (15%). Over one third of patients had ingested two or more substances. Ninety percent of patients were brought to the ED by the emergency medical services; 63% of these activations were by non-acquaintances. Of the 47% of youth who presented with a decreased level of consciousness, half had a Glasgow Coma Scale less than 13. The Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale score was 1 or 2 for 44% of patients. Sixty-eight percent received IV fluids, 42% received medication, and 4% were intubated. The admission rate was 9%.
Youth who presented to the ED for substance use represented a socially vulnerable population whose use of recreational substances resulted in high medical acuity and significant morbidity. Improved clinical identification of such high-risk youth and subsequent design of interventions to address problematic substance use and social issues are urgently needed to complement the acute medical care that youth receive.
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