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After-hours paediatric telephone triage and advice: the Neuchatel experience
European Journal of Pediatrics
Journal Article --- Old month value: Sep
Delivery of paediatric primary care by call centres has emerged as a satisfactory system. It has been reported in the literature in the United States and Australia. European public-funded paediatric emergency departments (ED) have little epidemiological data to rely on to match the demand in care. Since 1996, we have run a free nurse-led after-hours paediatric telephone triage and advice (TTA) system. To determine whether other Swiss public paediatric departments practiced formal TTA, we conducted a nation-wide postal survey. To delineate who used our call centre and for what reasons, we embarked on a retrospective study of all the 1997/2000 calls. Most of the units run a TTA (27/35) but few specifically train their staff (14/27). A 43% increase in call numbers was seen between 1997 (3242) and 2000 (4628). During week-days, most of the calls were between 6 and 11 pm and at weekends, a mid morning activity peak was seen. Some 75% of calls were for children aged 5 years or less. Fever, earache and cough accounted for 42% of the main complaints. Of all calls, 27% were dealt by nurses' advice only. About 15% of the calls were transferred to the on-call resident. About 50% led to a same day ED appointment. Conclusion: Nurse-led paediatric telephone triage and advice is common in Switzerland where training seems to be irregular. Our data can help units to better plan an eventual paediatric telephone triage and advice service.
After-Hours Care/*organization & administration Age Distribution Child Child Health Services/*organization & administration/utilization Counseling/*utilization Emergency Service, Hospital Health Services Needs and Demand Hospitals, General Hotlines/*utilization Humans Information Centers/*utilization Parents Pediatric Nursing/*organization & administration Remote Consultation/*utilization Retrospective Studies Switzerland Time Factors Triage/*utilization
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