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Why are we waiting? Patientsí perspectives for accessing emergency department services with non-urgent complaints


Unwin, M and Kinsman, L and Rigby, S, Why are we waiting? Patients' perspectives for accessing emergency department services with non-urgent complaints, International Emergency Nursing, 29 pp. 3-8. ISSN 1755-599X (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ienj.2016.09.003


Background: Emergency departments world-wide report service demands which exceed resource availability. Themes such as crowding, non-urgent presentations, ambulance diversion and access block have been linked to complications in care, poorer patient outcomes, increased morbidity and staff burnout. People attending the emergency department with problems perceived as non-urgent are frequently attributed blame for increased service demand, yet little is known from the patientsí perspective.

Method: This project utilised a descriptive cross-sectional waiting room survey of non-urgent patients to identify factors contributing to their decision making process to access ED services at a regional hospital in Tasmania, Australia. Data were analysed using a statistical software package and comparison made between the sample and population groups to determine broad representation.

Results: Patientsí decision making processes were found to be influenced by convenience, perceived need and referral by a health care provider. Cost did not present as a significant factor. A high incidence of patients under 25 years of age were identified and musculoskeletal complaints were the most common complaint across all age groups.

Conclusion: Further consideration is required to determine how to best meet service demand to facilitate the provision of the right service at the right time to the right patient.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:crowding, emergency services, hospital, general practitioners, decision making, cross-sectional studies, non-urgent presentations
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Evaluation of health and support services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Unwin, M (Dr Maria Unwin)
UTAS Author:Kinsman, L (Professor Leigh Kinsman)
ID Code:112045
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:54
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-10-24
Last Modified:2018-02-07
Downloads:167 View Download Statistics

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