Patterns of local and tourist use of an emergency department.
Illness patterns of local and tourist patients in an emergency department of a medium-sized Ontario city with a single hospital were compared. Frequencies of specific and broad categories of ailments and rates of admission to the hospital were similar in the two groups. However, non-Canadian tourists were admitted to hospital at a much lower rate than Canadian tourists. Rates of visits to the emergency department within certain age categories were remarkably similar, as were rates within the sexes. It is concluded that, in view of the striking similarity in the illness pattern of a group of patients not professionally referred to the hospital and that of local patients, who have potential contact with a more extensive medical network, public attitudes, rather than availability of health professionals, determine the pattern of illness observed in an emergency department. (+info)
Asthma visits to emergency rooms and soybean unloading in the harbors of Valencia and A Coruna, Spain.
Soybean unloading in the harbor of Barcelona, Spain, has been associated with large increases in the numbers of asthma patients treated in emergency departments between 1981 and 1987. In this study, the association between asthma and soybean unloading in two other Spanish cities, Valencia and A Coruna, was assessed. Asthma admissions were retrospectively identified for the period 1993-1995, and harbor activities were investigated in each location. Two approaches were used to assess the association between asthma and soybean unloading: One used unusual asthma days (days with an unusually high number of emergency room asthma visits) as an effect measure, and the other estimated the relative increase in the daily number of emergency room visits by autoregressive Poisson regression, adjusted for meteorologic variables, seasonality, and influenza incidence. No association between unusual asthma days and soya unloading was observed in either Valencia or A Coruna, except for one particular dock in Valencia. When the association between unloaded products and the daily number of emergency asthma visits was studied, a statistically significant association was observed for unloading of soya husk (relative risk = 1.50, 95% confidence interval 1.16-1.94) and soybeans (relative risk = 1.31, 95% confidence interval 1.08-1.59) in A Coruna. In Valencia, a statistical association was found only for the unloading of soybeans at two particular docks. Although these findings support the notion that asthma outbreaks are not a common hidden condition in most harbors where soybeans are unloaded, the weak associations reported are likely to be causal. Therefore, appropriate control measures should be implemented to avoid soybean dust emissions, particularly in harbors with populations living in the vicinity. (+info)
Short-term associations between outdoor air pollution and visits to accident and emergency departments in London for respiratory complaints.
Many epidemiological studies have shown positive short-term associations between health and current levels of outdoor air pollution. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between air pollution and the number of visits to accident and emergency (A&E) departments in London for respiratory complaints. A&E visits include the less severe cases of acute respiratory disease and are unrestricted by bed availability. Daily counts of visits to 12 London A&E departments for asthma, other respiratory complaints, and both combined for a number of age groups were constructed from manual registers of visits for the period 1992-1994. A Poisson regression allowing for seasonal patterns, meteorological conditions and influenza epidemics was used to assess the associations between the number of visits and six pollutants: nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particles measured as black smoke (BS) and particles with a median aerodynamic diameter of <10 microm (PM10). After making an allowance for the multiplicity of tests, there remained strong associations between visits for all respiratory complaints and increases in SO2: a 2.8% (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.7-4.9) increase in the number of visits for a 18 microg x (-3) increase (10th-90th percentile range) and a 3.0% (95% CI 0.8-5.2) increase for a 31 microg x m(-3) increase in PM10. There were also significant associations between visits for asthma and SO2, NO2 and PM10. No significant associations between O3 and any of the respiratory complaints investigated were found. Because of the strong correlation between pollutants, it was difficult to identify a single pollutant responsible for the associations found in the analyses. This study suggests that the levels of air pollution currently experienced in London are linked to short-term increases in the number of people visiting accident and emergency departments with respiratory complaints. (+info)
Drug problems dealt with by 62 London casualty departments. A preliminary report.
A study of the whole spectrum of drug incidents dealt with in one month by 62 casualty departments in the Greater London area was carried out in the summer of 1975. Apart from demonstrating the large number of such incidents, this preliminary report presents an analysis of the drugs responsible for these episodes, basic demographic characteristics of the drug users, and an estimate of the contribution of drug dependence. (+info)
Audit of thrombolysis initiated in an accident and emergency department.
Early thrombolytic therapy after acute myocardial infarction is important in reducing mortality. To evaluate a system for reducing in-hospital delays to thrombolysis pain to needle and door to needle times to thrombolysis were audited in a major accident and emergency (A and E) department of a district general hospital and its coronary care unit (CCU), situated about 5 km away. Baseline performance over six months was assessed retrospectively from notes of 43 consecutive patients (group 1) transferred to the CCU before receiving thrombolysis. Subsequently, selected patients (23) were allowed to receive thrombolysis in the A and E department before transfer to the CCU. The agent was administered by medical staff in the department after receiving oral confirmation of myocardial infarction from the admitting medical officer in the CCU on receipt of fax transmission of the electrocardiogram. A second prospective audit during six months from the start of the new procedure established time intervals in 23 patients eligible to receive thrombolysis in the A and E department (group 2b) and 30 ineligible patients who received thrombolysis in the CCU (group 2a). The groups did not differ significantly in case mix, pre-hospital delay, or transfer time to the CCU. In group 2b door to needle time and pain to needle time were reduced significantly (geometric mean 38 min v 121 min (group 2a) and 128 min (group 1); 141 min v 237 min (group 2a) and 242 min (group 1) respectively, both p < 0.0001). The incidence of adverse effects was not significantly different. Nine deaths occurred (six in group 1, three in group 2b), an in-hospital mortality of 9.9%. Thrombolysis can be safely instituted in the A and E department in selected patients, significantly reducing delay to treatment. (+info)
Use of an east end children's accident and emergency department for infants: a failure of primary health care?
OBJECTIVE: To ascertain why parents use an accident and emergency department for health care for their infants. DESIGN: Prospective one month study. SETTING: One accident and emergency department of a children's hospital in the east end of London. SUBJECTS: Parents of 159 infants aged < 9 months attending as self referrals (excluding infants attending previously or inpatients within one month, parents advised by the hospital to attend if concerned about their child's health, infants born abroad and arrived in Britain within the previous month). MAIN MEASURES: Details of birth, postnatal hospital stay, contact with health professionals, perceptions of roles of community midwife and health visitor, and current attendance obtained from a semistructured questionnaire administered in the department by a research health visitor; diagnosis, discharge, and follow up. RESULTS: 152(96%) parents were interviewed, 43(28%) of whom were single parent and 68(45%) first time mothers. Presenting symptoms included diarrhoea or vomiting, or both (34, 22%), crying (21, 14%), and feeding difficulties (10, 7%). Respiratory or gastrointestinal infection was diagnosed in 70(46%) infants. Only 17(11%) infants were admitted; hospital follow up was arranged for 27(20%) infants not admitted. Most (141, 94%) parents were registered with a general practitioner; 146(27%) had contact with the community midwife and 135(89%) the health visitor. CONCLUSION: Most attendances were for problems more appropriately dealt with by primary care professionals owing to patients' perceptions of hospital and primary health care services. IMPLICATIONS: Closer cooperation within the health service is needed to provide a service responsive to the real needs of patients. (+info)
Effect of guidelines on management of head injury on record keeping and decision making in accident and emergency departments.
OBJECTIVE: To compare record keeping and decision making in accident and emergency departments before and after distribution of guidelines on head injury management as indices of implementation. DESIGN: Before (1987) and after (1990) study of accident and emergency medical records. SETTING: Two accident and emergency departments in England. PATIENTS: 1144 adult patients with head injury in department 1 (533 in 1987, 613 in 1990) and 734 in department 2 (370, 364 respectively). MAIN MEASURES: Recording of relevant symptoms and signs as determined in the guidelines; presence of, indications for, and rates and appropriateness of skull x ray examination and admission. RESULTS: The median number of guidelines variables recorded for all study periods ranged from 7 to 9 out of a possible maximum of 27. For key decision making variables the presence or absence of penetrating injury was least likely to be recorded (< or = 1%) and that of loss of consciousness most likely (> or = 75%). Altogether, the proportion of patients receiving skull x ray examination or admitted varied from 25%-60% and 7%-23% respectively; overall, 69% (1280/1856) and 64% (1177/1851) of patients were managed appropriately. However, no consistent change occurred in the departments between the study periods. For instance, in department 1 the proportion of appropriate x ray examinations rose significantly after distribution of the guidelines (from 61% (202/330) to 73% (305/417)) and appropriate decisions on whether to x ray or not also rose (from 65% (340/522) to 72% (435/608)). There was no significant change in department 2, although the proportion of appropriate admissions fell (from 33% (55/166) to 15% (19/130)). CONCLUSIONS: Recording practice and decision making were variable and had not consistently improved after dissemination of the guidelines. Strategies are required to ensure effective implementation of guidelines. (+info)
Ethnicity, nationality and health care accessibility in Kuwait: a study of hospital emergency room users.
In mid-1994, non-Kuwaiti expatriates constituted 61.7% of the total population of Kuwait (1.75 million). Despite this numerical majority, non-Kuwaitis exist as a social minority. Non-Kuwaitis may be grouped into three broad categories along ethnic/nationality lines into Bidoon (without nationality), Arabs, and Asians. The objective of this paper was to compare the relative accessibility of the various groups to health care services in Kuwait. The study is based on data collected as part of a survey of 2184 Emergency Room (ER) users in January-February 1993. All patients attending the hospital ERs between 7:30 am and 9:00 pm were interviewed about their reasons for coming to the ER instead of going to the primary health care (PHC) centres, as required. The major reason given was low accessibility of the PHCs. Compared to Kuwaiti nationals, 92% of whom were registered at the PHC centres, only 62% of the Arabs and 39% of the Asians were registered. Multiple logistic regression of the factors in registration indicated that nationality was the most important reason for lack of registration, with Asians only about one-quarter as likely to be registered as Kuwaitis. Also, people who had been in Kuwait for shorter durations (< 5 years) were less likely to be registered than the Kuwaiti nationals or expatriates who had been here for 10 years or longer. In the absence of registration at the PHC centre, the civil identification card (ID) may be used as a valid means to enter the health system. Among the Arabs and Asians, 22% and 29% did not have a civil ID card. Thus, for many expatriates, the hospital ER, which does not provide the necessary follow-up care is often the only source of health care available. (+info)