Unscheduled emergency department presentations with diabetes: Identifying high risk characteristics.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australas Emerg Care, 2023, pp. S2588-994X(22)00092-6
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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.
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