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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0325-0075


VINELLI, Nicolás F. et al. Non-urgent emergency department visits at a children´s hospital. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2011, vol.109, n.1, pp.8-13. ISSN 0325-0075.

Introduction. The primary function of an Emergency Department is to assist patients with acute conditions; however, many visits are for nonurgent reasons. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of nonurgent emergency department visits and to describe the reasons for them. Population and methods. Cross-sectional and descriptive study, conducted in a Pediatric Hospital. We included patients aged between 1 month and 18 years, who presented to the emergency department during the whole day, in working and non-working days. We defined as nonurgent visits those corresponding to level 5 in the Emergency Severity Index classification. Results. We included 249 visits; 59% of which were nonurgent. The main reason referred was the difficulty to obtain an appointment in a primary care center (42.9%). Nonurgent visits were more frequent in working days (p= 0.007), conducted by caregivers living within 15 km of the hospital (p= 0.003) and those who used to visit the emergency department when they were children (p= 0.005). Patients with chronic diseases (p= 0.001), those who were referred by another professional (p= 0.002), and caregivers who lived without another adult in their home (p= 0.002) consulted less frequently for nonurgent reasons. Conclusion. Frequency of nonurgent visits was high. The main reason referred was the difficulty to obtain an appointment with a primary care centre.

Keywords : Emergency service; Hospital; Health services misuse; Pediatrics.

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