Determinants of pre-hospital care non-usage for patients with emergency care needs [including commentary by Snooks H.]

Clark, Michele J., Purdie, J., & FitzGerald, Gerard J. (2000) Determinants of pre-hospital care non-usage for patients with emergency care needs [including commentary by Snooks H.]. Pre-hospital Immediate Care, 4(2), pp. 90-96.

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Objective-To establish the demographic, health status and insurance determinants of pre-hospital ambulance non-usage for patients with emergency medical needs.

Methods-Triage category, date of birth, sex, marital status, country of origin, method and time of arrival, ambulance insurance status, diagnosis, and disposal were collected for all patients who presented over a four month period (n=10 229) to the emergency department of a major provincial hospital. Data for patients with urgent (n=678) or critical care needs (n=332) who did not use pre-hospital care were analysed using Poisson regression.

Results-Only a small percentage (6.6%) of the total sample were triaged as having urgent medical needs or critical care needs (3.2%). Predictors of usage for those with urgent care needs included age greater than 65 years (prevalence ratio (PR)=0.54; 95% confidence interval (CI)= 0.35 to 0.83), being admitted to intensive care or transferred to another hospital (PR=0.62; 95% CI=0.44 to 0.89) or ward (PR=0.72; 95% CI=0.56 to 0.93) and ambulance insurance status (PR=0.67; 95% CI=052 to 0.86). Sex, marital status, time of day and country of origin were not predictive of usage and non-usage. Predictors of usage for those with critical care needs included age 65 years or greater (PR=0.45; 95% CI=0.25 to 0.81) and a diagnosis of trauma (PR=0.49; 95% CI=0.26 to 0.92). A non-English speaking background was predictive of non-usage (PR=1.98; 95% CI=1.06 to 3.70). Sex, marital status, time of day, triage and ambulance insurance status were not predictive of non-usage.

Conclusions-Socioeconomic and medical factors variously influence ambulance usage depending on the severity or urgency of the medical condition. Ambulance insurance status was less of an influence as severity of condition increased suggesting that, at a critical level of urgency, patients without insurance are willing to pay for a pre-hospital ambulance service.

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ID Code: 27202
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Additional Information: This title has merged with Emergency Medicine Journal ; PREHOSPITAL IMMEDIATE CARE
Additional URLs:
ISSN: 1364-4882
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2010 22:53
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2010 22:53

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