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The purpose of this study was to identify 1) the proportion of patients discharged from the emergency department (ED) with a diagnosis of concussion and return within 14 days, and 2) the characteristics that prompt a return.
A health records review was conducted on adult patients with a discharge diagnosis of a concussion who accessed care through Hamilton Health Sciences EDs and Urgent Care Centre in 2016. Subsequent data were collected from those who returned to the ED within 14 days. Clinical characteristics of returners were compared to those of non-returners.
Of the 389 patients included in the study, 38 (10%) returned within 14 days. Patients who sustained a concussion in a sport-related context or were referred to a specialized clinic were less likely to return (p = 0.03). Those who suffered an assault-related concussion were more likely to return (p = 0.01). Of those who did return, 42% received a CT scan with normal results, and 42% were given new discharge instructions.
Approximately 10% of patients diagnosed with a concussion in a Canadian hospital setting returned to the ED within 14 days of their index visit. Our study suggests the opportunity to reduce this burden to both the healthcare system and the patient through careful discharge instructions outlining anticipated symptoms following a concussion (specifically, headache) or referral to a concussion clinic.
Delays in transfer of admitted patients boarded in the emergency department (ED) to an inpatient bed is a major driver of ED overcrowding. We sought to identify explanatory factors behind ED boarding as well as the impact of boarding on total inpatient length of stay (IP LOS) and inpatient mortality.
We conducted a retrospective single-centre observational study during the period between January 1 and December 31, 2015 at a very high volume community hospital. All patients admitted from the ED to Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, and Critical Care were identified. The mean ED LOS and boarding time as well as patient-specific and institutional factors that were independently associated with prolonged ED LOS (≥24 hours) and prolonged boarding time (≥12 hours) were identified. Mean inpatient length of stay (IP LOS) and the odds of inpatient mortality were calculated for those patients with prolonged ED wait times.
There were 13,872 unique admissions during the study period. Patients admitted to the Medicine service exhibited significantly higher ED wait times than other services. Within Medicine patients, there was a statistically significant greater odds of prolonged ED wait times for patients who were older, had a greater comorbidity burden, and required more specialized inpatient care. Medicine patients with prolonged boarding times also experienced a mean of 0.9 days longer IP LOS even after adjusting for confounders.
Within our cohort, older, sicker patients and those patients requiring more resource-intensive inpatient care had the longest ED wait times. These prolonged wait times are associated with significantly increased IP LOS.
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