Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
Support services for vulnerable patients by a multidisciplinary team in an emergency department
Title of the conference
Gemeinsame Jahrestagung, Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Intensivmedizin, Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Pulmonale Hypertonie, Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz, Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Notfall- und Rettungsmedizin, Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft für Intensivpflege, Gast: Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft Notfallpflege
Interlaken, Schweiz, 8.-10. September 2011
Swiss Medical Forum
Introduction: Individuals with poor social determinants of health aremore likely to receive improper healthcare. Frequent Users (FUs) ofEmergency Departments (ED) (defined as >4 visits in the previous12 months) represent a subgroup of vulnerable patients presentingwith specific medical and social needs. They usually account for highhealthcare costs by overusing the healthcare system. In 2008-2009,FUs accounted for 4% of our ED patients but 17% of all our ED visits.Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort of patients admitted toour ED with vulnerabilities in ≥3 specific domains (somatic or mentaldiseases, risk behaviors, social determinants of health, and healthcareuse). Patients were either directly identified by a multidisciplinary team(two nurses, one social worker, one physician) or referred to that teamby the ED staff during opening hours from July 1st 2010 to April 30th2011.Results: 127 patients were included (67% males), aged 43 years (SD15); 65% were migrants. They had a median of 6 ED visits (interquartilerange (IQR) 8-1) in the previous 12 months, representing a total of 697visits. The most frequently affected domains during the index visit were:71% somatic, 61% psychiatric, 75% risk behaviors, 97% social and84% healthcare use issues. Each case required a median of 234minutes (IQR 300-90) dedicated to assess their outpatient network(99% of the patients), to set up an ambulatory medical follow-up (43%)or a meeting with social services (40%).Conclusions: Vulnerability affected ED patients in more than onedomain. Vulnerable patients have complex needs that were difficult toaddress in the time-pressured ED setting. Although ED consultationoffers immediate access to medical care, EDs are dedicated more foracute short-term somatic care. Caring for a growing number ofvulnerable patients requires a different type of management. Limitedevidence shows that multidisciplinary case-management interventionshave demonstrated positive outcomes in terms of reducing ED useand costs, and improvement of patient's medical and social outcomes.A randomized trial of case-management is underway to confirm theresults of observational studies.
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