A new type of addiction: Emergency service abuse
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Objective: Patients repeatedly applying to the emergency department have become a common problem for many hospitals. With this study, the demographic characteristics of the patients who applied to an emergency department in 12 or more times in a year, the patients' hospitalization status, and the rate of using ambulance service were retrospectively examined.
Material and Methods: This study is a retrospective, descriptive, cross-sectional research article. The study was conducted in the 1300-bed Sakarya Training and Research Hospital (SEAH) adult emergency room (ER), the largest hospital in Sakarya Province, the study period was 2019. Adult patients with 12 or more emergency department applications per year were selected for the study.
Results: In the SEAH adult emergency department, 220.296 patients have examined a total of 382.413 times (1.74 per person) during 2019. The applying patients' to the SEAH adult emergency room 12 times or more in a year was 808 in 2019. These patients' emergency examinations' total quantity was 14369, presenting 3.76% of all emergency examinations, 625 (77.4%) were never hospitalized. Of these patients 420 (52%) were male; the median age was 47. The emergency department examinations estimate was 17.78 (±10.98) times averagely, the median amount was 15 times, and was between 12-192. Of them, 305 (37.7%) had also applied to the psychiatry outpatient clinic at least once. A weak but notable correlation was perceived between the number of outpatient clinic admissions and emergency service admissions (p = 0.001, r = 0.245).
Conclusion: Frequent users visit the ER and other polyclinics regularly. Limitations should be required on these patients using emergency services in non-emergency situations. It is essential to pay specific attention to frequent emergency room users and investigate the motivations for proceeding to the emergency room
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