Why do Queenslanders seek care in emergency departments? A population study

Rego, Joanna, FitzGerald, Gerry, Toloo, Sam, & Vallmuur, Kirsten (2015) Why do Queenslanders seek care in emergency departments? A population study. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 27(6), pp. 516-521.

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This study aims to identify the main reasons for which first time and multiple users seek medical care through Queensland emergency departments (ED).


A cross-sectional survey was conducted at eight public EDs among presenting patients (n = 911). The questions measured the socio-demographic characteristics of patients, their beliefs and attitudes towards EDs services, and perceptions of health status. Bivariate and binary logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the differences between first time and multiple users of EDs.


First time and multiple users accounted for 55.5% and 44.5%, respectively. Multiple users themselves believed to be sicker, have poorer health status, and additional and/or chronic health conditions. Multiple users more strongly believed that their condition required treatment at an ED and perceived their condition as being very serious. Multiple users reported weekly household incomes below $600, and half of the multiple users were not working as compared to 35% first time users. Multivariate analysis showed that multiple use was significantly associated with the existence of additional health problems, having chronic condition, lower self-efficacy, and need for ED treatment.


Patients who sought care for multiple times at EDs more often than first time users suffered from additional and chronic conditions. Their opinion of an ED as the most suitable place to address their current health problem was stronger than first time users. Any proposed demand management strategies need to address these beliefs together with the reasoning of patients to provide effective and appropriate care outside or within ED services.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 87417
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: emergency department, patients' perspective, population study, reason
DOI: 10.1111/1742-6723.12474
ISSN: 1742-6723
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Health Policy (160508)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Australasian Society for Emergency Medicine
Copyright Statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Rego, J., FitzGerald, G., Toloo, S., and Vallmuur, K. (2015) Why do Queenslanders seek care in emergency departments? A population study. Emerg Med Australas, 27: 516–521, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1742-6723.12474. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Deposited On: 15 Sep 2015 22:24
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2017 23:53

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