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Trends of emergency department presentations with a mental health diagnosis by age, Australia, 2004-05 to 2016-17: a secondary data analysis


Tran, QN and Lambeth, LG and Sanderson, K and de Graaff, B and Breslin, M and Tran, V and Huckerby, EJ and Neil, AL, Trends of emergency department presentations with a mental health diagnosis by age, Australia, 2004-05 to 2016-17: a secondary data analysis, Emergency Medicine Australasia, 31, (6) pp. 1064-1072. ISSN 1742-6731 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine

DOI: doi:10.1111/1742-6723.13323


Objectives: The present study aims to explore for Australia: (i) the trends of ED presentations with a mental health (MH) diagnosis by age group; and (ii) whether those trends differ from all ED presentations.

Methods: ED presentations to Australian public hospitals, 2004-05 to 2016-17 were captured in the National Non-Admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database. We assessed total change and annual rate of change in the number and rates of presentations per 10 000 population for all presentations and those with a MH principal diagnosis (ICD-10-AM F00 to F99, MHdx). Multivariable regression was used to assess the trend of the proportion of MHdx presentations.

Results: Between 2004-05 and 2016-17, children (0-14 years), followed by older persons (≥65 years) had the highest ED utilisation; while youth (15-24 years) and younger adults (25-34 years) predominated for MHdx presentations. As a proportion of all presentations, MHdx presentations were lowest in children, and highest in people 35-44 years (13.2-times higher than for children). The rate of increase in MHdx presentations was higher than for all presentations in all age groups, reaching almost four times higher for children.

Conclusion: The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare should consider expanding the breadth of MH diagnoses they report to better identify the impact of MH on ED presentations. Between 2004-05 and 2016-17, high ED utilisation by children and older persons, and the increasing burden of MHdx presentations for youth, younger adults and children suggest that healthcare planning strategies for urgent and emergency care cannot afford to overlook the growing impact of these sub-groups.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, age group, emergency department, health service research, mental health
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Mental health services
UTAS Author:Tran, QN (Mr Nhat Tran)
UTAS Author:Lambeth, LG (Dr Leonard Lambeth)
UTAS Author:Sanderson, K (Associate Professor Kristy Sanderson)
UTAS Author:de Graaff, B (Dr Barbara de Graaff)
UTAS Author:Breslin, M (Dr Monique Breslin)
UTAS Author:Tran, V (Associate Professor Viet Tran)
UTAS Author:Neil, AL (Associate Professor Amanda Neil)
ID Code:132360
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2019-05-05
Last Modified:2020-08-14

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