Aim To study the outcome of children brought in to the Emergency Department (ED) by ambulance.
Method All children (below16 years) who were brought in by ambulance over a period of one year to our ED were included in the study. Data was retrospectively analysed from electronic hospital records. Final diagnosis was obtained from the coding system used locally.
Results Our ED sees about 20,000 children per annum. A total of 1,828 children were brought in by ambulance between the period 01/09/2011 to 30/08/2012. Only 568 (34.88%) children were admitted as inpatients. A total of 1,191 children were discharged home from the ED.
Diagnosis was available for 1,628 children. Out of these children (1,628) where diagnosis was documented in the ED notes, trauma was the most common reason for being brought in by ambulance – 502 (30%) out of 1628, 115 out of these were discharged. The commonest medical reason for which children were brought to ED was respiratory problems (about 22%). Out of which 55% were discharged. Out of 107 children brought for febrile seizure 83 (78%) were discharged from ED. Seventy five children were diagnosed to have an upper respiratory tract infection. In total, only 50 children were admitted to paediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
Out of the 200 where diagnosis could not be found in ED records, 30 (15%) were admitted and 56 were discharged, 46 children were referred to the GP in ED and 12 patients did not wait to see a doctor.
The number of children brought in by ambulance increased after 17:00 and decreased after 22:00.
Conclusion The majority of children brought in by ambulance were discharged home from ED. Targeted intervention aiming at certain paediatric diagnoses may help to prevent inappropriate ambulance transfer to ED and create significant cost savings.