Risk Factors Associated With Emergency Department Return Visits Following Trauma System Discharge

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Abstract

Objectives

Little evidence exists in the pediatric trauma literature regarding what factors are associated with re-presentation to the hospital for patients discharged from the emergency department (ED).

Methods

This was a retrospective cohort study of trauma system activations at a pediatric trauma center from June 30, 2007, through June 30, 2013, who were subsequently discharged from the ED or after a brief inpatient stay. Returns within 30 days were reviewed. χ2, Student t test, and univariate logistical regression were used to compare predictive factors for those returning and not.

Results

One thousand eight hundred sixty-three patient encounters were included in the cohort. Seventy-two patients (3.9%) had at least 1 return visit that was related to the original trauma activation. Age, sex, language, race/ethnicity, ED length of stay, arrival mode, level of trauma activation, and transfer from an outside hospital did not vary significantly between the groups. Patients with public insurance were almost 2 times more likely to return compared with those with private insurance (odds ratio, 1.92; 95% confidence interval, 1.11–3.35). Income by zip code was associated with the risk of a return visit, with patients in neighborhoods at less than the 50th percentile income twice as likely to return to the ED (odds ratio, 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.30–3.54).

Conclusions

Patients with public insurance and those from low-income neighborhoods were significantly more likely to return to the ED after trauma system activation. These data can be used to target interventions to decrease returns in high-risk trauma patients.

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