Language affects length of stay in emergency departments in Queensland public hospitals

Mahmoud, Ibrahim, Hou, Xiang-Yu, Chu, Kevin, & Clark, Michele (2013) Language affects length of stay in emergency departments in Queensland public hospitals. World Journal of Emergency Medicine, 4(1), pp. 5-9.

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BACKGROUND: A long length of stay (LOS) in the emergency department (ED) associated with overcrowding has been found to adversely affect the quality of ED care. The objective of this study is to determine whether patients who speak a language other than English at home have a longer LOS in EDs compared to those whose speak only English at home.

METHODS: A secondary data analysis of a Queensland state-wide hospital EDs dataset (Emergency Department Information System) was conducted for the period, 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2010.

RESULTS: The interpreter requirement was the highest among Vietnamese speakers (23.1%) followed by Chinese (19.8%) and Arabic speakers (18.7%). There were significant differences in the distributions of the departure statuses among the language groups (Chi-squared=3236.88, P<0.001). Compared with English speakers, the Beta coeffi cient for the LOS in the EDs measured in minutes was among Vietnamese, 26.3 (95%CI: 22.1–30.5); Arabic, 10.3 (95%CI: 7.3–13.2); Spanish, 9.4 (95%CI: 7.1–11.7); Chinese, 8.6 (95%CI: 2.6–14.6); Hindi, 4.0 (95%CI: 2.2–5.7); Italian, 3.5 (95%CI: 1.6–5.4); and German, 2.7 (95%CI: 1.0–4.4). The fi nal regression model explained 17% of the variability in LOS.

CONCLUSION: There is a close relationship between the language spoken at home and the LOS at EDs, indicating that language could be an important predictor of prolonged LOS in EDs and improving language services might reduce LOS and ease overcrowding in EDs in Queensland's public hospitals.

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ID Code: 58813
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: DOI: 10.5847/ wjem.j.1920–8642.2013.01.001
Keywords: Emergency Department, language, length of stay, immigrants, public hospitals
ISSN: 1920-8642
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Authors and World Journal of Emergency Medicine
Copyright Statement: The entire contents of the World Journal of Emergency Medicine are protected under China and international copyrights. The Journal, however, grants to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, perform and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works in any digital medium for any reasonable non-commercial purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship and ownership of the rights. The journal also grants the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal non-commercial use under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Deposited On: 02 Apr 2013 04:09
Last Modified: 22 May 2017 14:39

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