Teresa Pinheiro*, Ana Torres Rebelo, Joana Monteiro and Teresa Caldeira
Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Centro Hospitalar de Entre-o-Douro e Vouga, Portugal
*Corresponding Author: Teresa Pinheiro, Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Centro Hospitalar de Entre-o-Douro e Vouga, Portugal.
Received: March 21, 2022; Published: April 28, 2022
Before the COVID pandemic, the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) had been experiencing a progressive overload due to an increasing of visits, but this high demand for emergency pediatric care does not always translate into serious conditions requiring hospital attendance. Frequent users, defined has having eleven or more admissions per year, are often associated with inadequate emergency visits. We performed a retrospective study of admissions to a Portuguese pediatric ED during the year of 2018, and we described the characteristics of its frequent users. The aim of this study was to compare the utilization of ED by the frequent users throughout 2018 and during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, we identified 123 frequent users representing 1% of the patients that sought ED care and accounting for more than 5% of the total visits. In 2020, during the first year of the pandemic (from March 1st, 2020, to February 28th, 2021) we observed a significant reduction in all ED visits, as well as frequent users. The average age of patients changed significantly in the two periods (2,44 vs 4,65; p 0,000), with no gender differences. In both years, most children didn´t have a relevant pre-existing medical condition, but 45,5% frequent users in 2018 had a least one previous hospitalization, compared to just 26,5% of the frequent users in 2020 (p < 0,05).
To our knowledge, these are the first data on frequent user’s attendance during the pandemic compared to what happened previously. And if before we had a population of small children with inexperienced parents that don´t make the correct use of primary care, during the pandemic, anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms were predominant.
Keywords: Emergency Department; Frequent Users; Pediatrics
Citation: Teresa Pinheiro., et al. “Characterization of Frequent Users of a Pediatric Emergency Department in Level II Hospital and What Changed with the COVID Pandemic". Acta Scientific Paediatrics 5.5 (2022): 42-48.
Copyright: © 2022 Teresa Pinheiro., et al. 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 author and source are credited.