Subjective reasons why immigrant patients attend the emergency department

Mahmoud, Ibrahim, Eley, Rob, & Hou, Xiang-Yu (2015) Subjective reasons why immigrant patients attend the emergency department. BMC Emergency Medicine, 15(4).

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Background Some patients visit a hospital’s emergency department (ED) for reasons other than an urgent medical condition. There is evidence that this practice may differ among patients from different backgrounds. The objective of this study was to examine the reasons why patients from a non-English speaking background (NESB) and patients with an English speaking background but not born in Australia (ESB-NBA) visit the ED, as compared to patients from English-speaking backgrounds but born in Australia (ESB-BA). Methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted at the ED of a tertiary hospital in metropolitan Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Over a four-month period patients who were assigned an Australasian Triage Scale score of 3, 4 or 5 were surveyed. Pearson chi-square test and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the differences between the ESB and NESB patients’ reported reasons for attending the ED. Results A total of 828 patients participated in this study. Compared to ESB-BA patients NESB patients were less likely to consider contacting a general practitioner (GP) before attending the ED (Odds Ratios (OR) 0.6 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.4–0.8, p < .05) While ESB-NBA were more likely to consider contacting a GP 1.7 (1.1–2.5, p < .05). Both the NESB patients and the ESB-NBA patients were far more likely than ESB-BA patients to report that they had visited the ED either because they do not have a GP (OR 7.9, 95% CI 4.7–13.4, p < .001) and 2.2 (95% CI 1.1–4.4, p < .05) respectively and less likely to think that the ED could deal with their problem better than a GP(OR 0.5 (95% CI 0.3–0.8, p < .05) and 0.7 (0.3–0.9, p < .05) respectively. The NESB patients also thought it would take too long to make an appointment to consult a GP (OR 6.2, 95% CI 3.7–10.4, p < 0.001). Conclusions NESB patients were the least likely to consider contacting a GP before attending hospital EDs. Educational interventions may help direct NESB people to the appropriate health services and therefore reduce the burden on tertiary hospitals ED.

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ID Code: 82965
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Emergency department, General practitioner, Immigrants
DOI: 10.1186/s12873-015-0031-8
ISSN: 1471-227X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Mahmoud et al.; licensee BioMed Central.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 30 Mar 2015 01:02
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2015 22:39

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