Type of Document Thesis Author Scott, Mary Frances Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-03302007-233456 Title Factors Associated with Non-Urgent Utilization of the Emergency Department Degree Master of Science Department Nursing, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Mary Beth Zeni Committee Chair Laurie Grubbs Committee Member Vickie Barth Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2007-03-21 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
Utilization of the emergency department (ED) for non-urgent visits has become an important topic among healthcare providers and administrators. Non-urgent visits to the ED result in financial and health related problems for those who utilize the ED in this manner, as well as managed care organizations.
There are many influences included in patientsí decisions to utilize the ED for non-urgent reasons. The purpose of this research was three fold. The first purpose was to identify reasons for utilizing a southwest Florida Emergency Department rather than other healthcare services for non-urgent care. The second purpose was to identify common factors among patients seeking non-urgent care in the emergency department in a southwest Florida rural emergency department. The third purpose was to determine if patients who visit a southwest Florida Emergency Department for non-urgent reasons receive less preventative care than national standards.
Results indicated three main reasons participants utilized the ED for non-urgent visits. From a sample of 50 participants, 74% did not have a primary care provider, 54% utilized the ED for convenience, and 48% felt their complaint was urgent enough to come to the ED. Common factors among these participants utilizing the ED included 44% of the participants were self pay and there was a significant association between lack of primary care provider and not having a physical in the past year. A large portion of the sample did not receive preventive care; 64% had not received a physical in the past year and greater then 80% had not had a hearing, vision, or dental exam in the past year.
There needs to be more education and resources in the community. For example, non-urgent clinics in the community need to expand hours and days of operation so services are available in the evenings and on weekends. People seeking non-urgent care could then access other health services in the community instead of the hospital Emergency department.
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