Seventy-Two Hour Emergency Department Returns
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The purpose of this paper is to describe a study to identify factors associated with unscheduled 72 hour (72 h) emergency department (ED) returns. These factors can serve as a basis for development of interventions to decrease these unscheduled returns. An exploratory quantitative study using a descriptive correlational design was performed. The sample consisted of all patients with 72 h ED return visits for the month of January 2009 at the study facility. Data were abstracted from electronic patients records utilizing the data collection tool of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey modified to eliminate patient identifiers. There were 169 individuals studied who had at least one 72 h return visit to the ED making a total of 393 initial and return ED visits. These individuals were 93.5% white and 52.9% female with an average age of 39 years. The most common diagnoses were for gastrointestinal complaints. Persons with private insurance, Medicare and charity coverage for service were more likely to have a primary care provider than those with Medicaid or self-pay for service. Since abdominal pain is the most frequent diagnosis further research is needed to design interventions to decrease the frequency of related unscheduled 72 h returns.