Dependence on Emergency Care among Young Adults in the United States

Center for Primary Care, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14609, USA.
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.42). 03/2010; 25(7):663-9. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-010-1313-1
Source: PubMed


Young adults have a high prevalence of many preventable diseases and frequently lack a usual source of ambulatory care, yet little is known about their use of the emergency department.
To characterize care provided to young adults in the emergency department.
Cross-sectional analysis of visits from young adults age 20 to 29 presenting to emergency departments (N = 17,048) and outpatient departments (N = 14,443) in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
Visits to the emergency department compared to ambulatory offices.
Emergency department care accounts for 21.6% of all health care visits from young adults, more than children/adolescents (12.6%; P < 0.001) or patients 30 years and over (8.3%; P < 0.001). Visits from young adults were considerably more likely to occur in the emergency department for both injury-related and non-injury-related reasons compared to children/adolescents (P < 0.001) or older adults (P < 0.001). Visits from black young adults were more likely than whites to occur in the emergency department (36.2% vs.19.2%; P < 0.001) rather than outpatient offices. The proportion of care delivered to black young adults in the emergency department increased between 1996 and 2006 (25.9% to 38.5%; P = 0.001 for trend). In 2006, nearly half (48.5%) of all health care provided to young black men was delivered through emergency departments. The urgency of young adult emergency visits was less than other age groups and few (4.7%) resulted in hospital admission.
A considerable amount of care provided to young adults is delivered through emergency departments. Trends suggest that young adults are increasingly relying on emergency departments for health care, while being seen for less urgent indications.

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    • "Each day in the United States, there are over 50,000 emergency department (ED) visits by young adults 18 to 24 years of age [10]. A quarter of young adults use the ED for primary care [11] and up to a half may have hazardous alcohol use patterns [12]. For these reasons, the ED provides an opportunistic setting to identify young adults with hazardous alcohol use and intervene to prevent associated risks [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Heavy episodic (binge) drinking is common among young adults and can lead to injury and illness. Young adults who seek care in the Emergency Department (ED) may be disproportionately affected with binge drinking behavior, therefore provide an opportunity to reduce future risk through screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT). Mobile phone text messaging (SMS) is a common form of communication among young adults and has been shown to be effective at providing behavioral support to young adult drinkers after ED discharge. Efficacy of SMS programs to reduce binge drinking remains unknown. Methods/Design We will conduct a three parallel arm, randomized trial. A convenience sample of adults aged 18 to 25 years attending three EDs in Pittsburgh, PA and willing to participate in the study will be screened for hazardous alcohol consumption. Participants identified as hazardous drinkers will then be allocated to either 12 weeks of weekly SMS drinking assessments with feedback (SA+F), SMS drinking assessments without feedback (SA), or a control group. Randomization will be via an independent and remote computerized randomization and will be stratified by study site. The SA+F group will be asked to provide pre-weekend drinking intention as well as post-weekend consumption via SMS and will receive feedback messages focused on health consequences of alcohol consumption, personalized normative feedback, protective drinking strategies and goal setting. Follow-up data on alcohol use and injury related to alcohol will be collected through a password-protected website three, six and nine months later. The primary outcome for the study is binge drinking days (≥4 drinks for women; ≥5 drinks for men) during the previous month, and the main secondary outcome is the proportion of participants who report any injury related to alcohol in the prior three months. Discussion This study will test the hypothesis that a mobile phone text-messaging program will result in immediate and durable reductions in binge drinking among at-risk young adults. By testing an intervention group to an assessment-only and control group, we will be able to separate the effect of assessment reactivity. By collecting pre-weekend drinking intentions and post-weekend consumption data in the SA+F group, we will be able to better understand mechanism of change. Trial registration NCT01688245
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Trials
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    Full-text · Article · Jul 2010 · Journal of General Internal Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Emergency departments (EDs) in many developed countries are experiencing increasing pressure due to rising numbers of patient presentations and emergency admissions. Reported increases range up to 7% annually. Together with limited inpatient bed capacity, this contributes to prolonged lengths of stay in the ED; disrupting timely access to urgent care, posing a threat to patient safety. The aim of this review is to summarise the findings of studies that have investigated the extent of and the reasons for increasing emergency presentations. To do this, a systematic review and synthesis of published and unpublished reports describing trends and underlying drivers associated with the increase in ED presentations in developed countries was conducted. Most published studies provided evidence of increasing ED attendances within developed countries. A series of inter-related factors have been proposed to explain the increase in emergency demand. These include changes in demography and in the organisation and delivery of healthcare services, as well as improved health awareness and community expectations arising from health promotion campaigns. The factors associated with increasing ED presentations are complex and inter-related and include rising community expectations regarding access to emergency care in acute hospitals. A systematic investigation of the demographic, socioeconomic and health-related factors highlighted by this review is recommended. This would facilitate untangling the dynamics of the increase in emergency demand.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Emergency Medicine Journal
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