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Regular attenders to the accident and emergency department


Objectives—To examine the profile of regular attenders to an accident and emergency (A&E) department, and to estimate the percentage of the overall departmental workload attributed to this group of patients, together with the resultant cost to the department of these attendances.

Methods—A retrospective study of regular attenders to the A&E department at Hull Royal Infirmary was conducted between 1 January 1998 and 30 June 1998. The information gathered included age, sex, marital status, accommodation, investigations performed, concurrent alcohol use, presenting complaints and disposal.

Results—The A&E department at Hull Royal Infirmary sees approximately 87 000 new patients per year. Forty regular attenders presented 475 times in six months accounting for 1.1% of the departmental workload. The most common presenting complaints were overdose (27.4%), minor injuries (19%), alcohol intoxication (14%) and seizures (10.5%). Eighty per cent of patients were single and 7.5% were of no fixed abode. A total of 191 admissions resulted and the cost to the department for investigations performed was between £2709.59 and £3739.85. The cost of inhospital admissions was in excess of £34 000.

Conclusion—Improved management of these patients together with a reduction in their alcohol intake may lead to a significant reduction in both workload for accident departments and hospitals and in the number of regular attenders.

  • regular attender
  • cost
  • investigations

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