Characterising double frequent users in an emergency department

Annelie Raidla, Katrin Dárro, Tobias Carlson, Eric Carlström


Visits by frequent users (FUs) has been suggested as one reason for crowding in emergency departments (EDs). In this article, we identified the characteristics of double frequent users (DFUs), ≥ 8 visits during 12 months in an ED during a period of six years, in one ED in Western Sweden. The primary outcome was to characterise DFUs and find common reasons for repeatedly visiting the ED. We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis on register data covering six years of all visits. The DFUs share of all visitors to the ED was not more than 0.03% (144 individuals), but their share of visits was 2.4% (1,017 visits/year). Chest pain and abdominal pain were the most common complaints. A typical DFU is male, around 50-year-old, unemployed, non-immigrant, suffering from alcohol abuse and/or mental health conditions. The results point to the need for changing strategies in ED services towards DFUs suffering from alcohol abuse and/or mental health conditions. The ED prioritises the severely ill but lacks resources and continuity for handling chronic diseases and follow-up routines.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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