Emergency department use in rural Australian setting

Are the factors prompting attendance appropriate?

Joanne L. Callen*, Leanne Blundell, Mirela Prgomet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Increases in attendance rates at emergency departments (EDs) have prompted concerns regarding inappropriate utilisation. Factors instigating patient ED attendance were examined using a cross sectional survey of 522 patients presenting to the ED of a rural hospital in Australia, during a 1-week period. The results highlighted the importance of the rural hospital ED as an additional and alternate service to existing primary care facilities, particularly outside of business hours. The findings indicated that although patients' perception of an emergency does not necessarily correspond with clinical interpretations, the primary factors prompting attendance, including general practitioner unavailability, referrals and special service needs, suggest that, from a patients' perspective, the majority of presentations to the ED are justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-719
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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