Emergency Department Patients with Psychiatric Complaints Return at Higher Rates than Controls

University of Utah, Division of Emergency Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT.
The western journal of emergency medicine 11/2009; 10(4):268-72.
Source: PubMed


At our 35,000 visit/year emergency department (ED), we studied whether patients presenting to the ED with psychiatric complaints were admitted to the hospital at a higher rate than non-psychiatric patients, and whether these patients had a higher rate of reevaluation in the ED within 30 days following the index visit.
We reviewed the electronic records of all ED patients receiving a psychiatric evaluation from January to February 2007 and compared these patients to 300 randomly selected patients presenting during the study period for non-psychiatric complaints. Patients were followed for 30 days, and admission rates and return visits were compared.
Two hundred thirty-four patients presented to the ED and were evaluated for psychiatric complaints during the study period. Twenty-four point seven percent of psychiatric patients were admitted upon initial presentation versus 20.7% of non-psychiatric patients (p = 0.258). Twenty-one percent of discharged psychiatric patients returned to the ED within 30 days versus 13.4% of discharged non-psychiatric patients (p=0.041). Patients returning to the ED within 30 days had a 17.1% versus 21.6% admission rate for the psychiatric and non-psychiatric groups, respectively (p=0.485).
Patients presenting to this ED with psychiatric complaints were not admitted at a significantly higher rate than non-psychiatric patients. These psychiatric patients did, however, have a significantly higher return rate to the ED when compared to non-psychiatric patients.

Download full-text


Available from: Troy Madsen, Jul 30, 2014
  • Source
    • "Comparison of return visit rates among studies is complicated by the different time frames used. Some studies use 72-h return visits [[2],[7],[9]–[11],[14],[16],[21]] while others have used a 30-day delay between the two visits [[26],[27]]. Applying the 72-h time frame in our results, our percentage of unscheduled return visits (2.7%) compares well with published 72-h return rates, ranging from 2.2% to 5.5% [[2],[7],[9]–[11],[14],[16],[21]]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Unscheduled return visits to the emergency department (ED) may reflect shortcomings in care. This study characterized ED return visits with respect to incidence, risk factors, reasons and post-ED disposition. We hypothesized that risk factors for unscheduled return and reasons for returning would differ from previous studies, due to differences in health care systems. Methods All unscheduled return visits occurring within 1 week and related to the initial ED visit were selected. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to determine independent factors associated with unscheduled return, using patient information available at the initial visit. Reasons for returning unscheduled were categorized into illness-, patient- or physician-related. Post-ED disposition was compared between patients with unscheduled return visits and the patients who did not return. Results Five percent (n = 2,492) of total ED visits (n = 49,341) were unscheduled return visits. Patients with an urgent triage level, patients presenting during the night shift, with a wound or local infection, abdominal pain or urinary problems were more likely to return unscheduled. Reasons to revisit unscheduled were mostly illness-related (49%) or patient-related (41%). Admission rates for returning patients (16%) were the same as for the patients who did not return (17%). Conclusions Apart from abdominal complaints, risk factors for unscheduled return differ from previous studies. Short-term follow-up at the outpatient clinic or general practitioner for patients with urgent triage levels and suffering from wounds or local infections, abdominal pain or urinary problem might prevent unscheduled return.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · International Journal of Emergency Medicine
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To describe the number, characteristics and management of patients who presented to an emergency department (ED) with intentional self-harm and then re-presented for any reason within 1 week, over a 1-year period. A retrospective records review from one New Zealand ED over 12 months. Of the 120 patients who attended the ED more than once with intentional self-harm, 48 re-presented on 73 occasions within 7 days of the index presentation. Of the re-presentations, 55% occurred within 1 day. Mental health assessments by emergency department staff were minimal; challenging incidents occurred in 40% of presentations; and there was an increase in the inpatient admission rate for second presentations. We identified a small group of patients who rapidly re-present to the ED following intentional self-harm. The reasons behind those re-presentations could include limited mental health assessments in ED and inadequate follow-up on discharge. System improvements in the ED including better collaboration with mental health services could improve how services address the needs of patients who present with intentional self-harm and reduce costs.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · The New Zealand medical journal
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We determined if targeted education of emergency physicians (EPs) regarding the treatment of mental illness will improve their comfort level in treating psychiatric patients boarding in the emergency department (ED) awaiting admission. We performed a pilot study examining whether an educational intervention would change an EP's comfort level in treating psychiatric boarder patients (PBPs). We identified a set of psychiatric emergencies that typically require admission or treatment beyond the scope of practice of emergency medicine. Diagnoses included major depression, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar affective disorder, general anxiety disorder, suicidal ideation, and criminal behavior. We designed equivalent surveys to be used before and after an educational intervention. Each survey consisted of 10 scenarios of typical psychiatric patients. EPs were asked to rate their comfort levels in treating the described patients on a visual analogue scale. We calculated summary scores for the non intervention survey group (NINT) and intervention survey group (INT) and compared them using Student's t-test. Seventy-nine percent (33/42) of eligible participants completed the pre-intervention survey (21 attendings, 12 residents) and comprised the NINT group. Fifty-five percent (23/42) completed the post-intervention survey (16 attendings, 7 residents) comprising the INT group. A comparison of summary scores between 'NINT' and 'INT' groups showed a highly significant improvement in comfort levels with treating the patients described in the scenarios (P = 0.003). Improvements were noted on separate analysis for faculty (P = 0.039) and for residents (P = 0.012). Results of a sensitivity analysis excluding one highly significant scenario showed decreased, but still important differences between the NINT and INT groups for all participants and for residents, but not for faculty (all: P = 0.05; faculty: P = 0.25; residents: P = 0.03). This pilot study suggests that the comfort level of EPs, when asked to treat PBPs, may be improved with education. We believe our data support further study of this idea and of whether an improved comfort level will translate to a willingness to treat.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · The western journal of emergency medicine