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Characteristics of patients and families who make early return visits to the pediatric emergency department

Authors Logue EP, Ali S, Spiers J, Newton AS, Lander JA

Received 3 February 2013

Accepted for publication 6 March 2013

Published 21 June 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 9—15

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OAEM.S43621

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Erin Patricia Logue,1 Samina Ali,2,3 Judith Spiers,4 Amanda S Newton,2,3 Janice A Lander4

1 Alberta Health Services, 2Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, 3Women and Children’s Health Research Institute, 4Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to identify reasons why parents make early return visits, within 72 hours of discharge from a tertiary care pediatric emergency department (PED). A secondary objective was to investigate associated demographic and diagnostic variables.
Methods: A survey was conducted with a convenience sample of parents of children returning to the PED within 72 hours of discharge. A chart review was also completed for consented survey participants. Recruitment occurred from September 2005 to August 2006 at the Stollery Children's Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Results: A total of 264 parents were approached to participate. Overall, 231 surveys were returned and 212 (92%) charts were reviewed. The overall rate of early return during the study period was 5.4%. More than half of parents stated that they returned because their child's condition worsened and many parents (66.7%) reported feeling stressed. Patients were typically under 6 years of age (67.4%), and most frequently diagnosed with infectious diseases (38.0%). Patients triaged with the Canadian Emergency Department Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) as CTAS 2 (emergent) for initial visits were more likely to be admitted on return, regardless of age (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Variables associated with early returns included young age, diagnosis, triage acuity, and parental stress. Future variable definition should include a deeper exploration of modifiable factors such as parental stress and patient education. These next steps may help direct interventions and resources to address needs in this group and possibly pre-empt the need to return.

Keywords: bounceback, recidivism, pediatric, survey, accident and emergency

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