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Unscheduled emergency department presentations with diabetes: Identifying high risk characteristics

Published:December 16, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.auec.2022.12.001

      Abstract

      Background

      Unscheduled emergency department (ED) presentation by patients with diabetes has seldom been examined. This study aimed to determine the frequency and associated characteristics of presentations in this population.

      Methods

      Using a prospective cross-sectional design, data were collected from patients with diabetes presenting and/or admitted to a tertiary metropolitan hospital in New South Wales, Australia (December 2016-September 2017). A screening interview including brief measures of cognitive and executive function, and clinical details from healthcare records were utilised; details around unscheduled presentations within 90 days were extracted. Independent associations with ED presentation were determined.

      Results

      Unscheduled ED presentations were common; 35.4% had at least one within 90 days, and for 20.1% this occurred within 28 days. The screening tool contributed little towards identifying risk of unscheduled presentation. Those attending any community or outpatient follow-up appointment within the first 28 (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.23–0.76; p = 0.004) or 90 days (OR 0.25; 0.13–0.47; p < 0.001) from the index presentation were less likely to present within that same period.

      Conclusions

      Findings indicated the magnitude of unscheduled ED presentation, care complexity and the value of targeted and timely follow-up. Alternative service support may help maintain and improve diabetes self-management and will require effectiveness and cost-effectiveness evaluation.

      Keywords

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