The AfJEM blog
Every quarter, the African Journal of Emergency Medicine, in partnership with several other regional emergency medicine journals, publishes abstracts from each respective journal. Abstracts are not necessarily linked to open access papers, but where green access is available it is linked to. Click 'Read More' to read further.
Predicting Hospital Admission and Prolonged Length of Stay in Older Adults in the Emergency Department: The PRO-AGE Scoring System
Curiati PK, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2020;76(3):255-265
We developed prediction models for hospital admission and prolonged length of stay in older adults admitted from the emergency department (ED).
This was a retrospective cohort study of patients aged 70 years or older who visited a geriatric ED in Brazil (N=5,025 visits). We randomly allocated participants to derivation and validation samples in a 2:1 ratio. We then selected 21 variables based on their clinical relevance and generated models to predict the following outcomes: hospital admission and prolonged length of stay, defined as the upper tertile of hospital stay. We used backward stepwise logistic regressions to select our final predictors and developed risk scoring systems based on the relative values of their β coefficients.
Overall, 57% of the participants were women, 31% were hospitalized, and 1% died in the hospital. The upper tertile of hospital stay was greater than 7 days. Hospital admission was best predicted by a model including male sex, aged 90 years or older, hospitalization in the previous 6 months, weight loss greater than or equal to 5% in the previous year, acute mental alteration, and acute functional decline. The prediction of prolonged length of stay retained the same variables, except male sex, which was substituted for fatigue. The final scoring system reached areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.74 for hospital admission and 0.79 for prolonged length of stay, and their accuracies were confirmed in the validation models.
The PRO-AGE scoring system predicted hospital admission and prolonged length of stay in older adults with good accuracy, using a simple approach and only 7 easily obtained clinical variables.
Reproduced with permission
Assessing appropriateness of pediatric emergency department visits: is it even possible?
Paul JE, et al. CJEM. 2020:3;1-4
Numerous studies reported on the frequency of, and factors associated with inappropriate or unnecessary emergency department (ED) visits using clinician judgment as the gold standard of appropriateness. This study evaluated the reliability of clinician judgment for assessing appropriateness of pediatric ED visit.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study comparing 3 clinicians' determination of ED visit appropriateness with and without guidance from a three-question structured algorithm. We used a cohort of scheduled ED return visits deemed appropriate by the index treating clinician between May 1, 2012, and April 30, 2013. We measured the level of agreement among three clinician investigators with and without use of the structured algorithm.
A total of 207 scheduled ED return visits were reviewed by the primary clinician reviewer who agreed with the index treating clinician for 79/207 visits (38.2%). Among a random subset of 90 return visits reviewed by all three clinicians, agreement was 67% with a Fleiss' Kappa of 0.30 (0.17-0.44). Using a three-question algorithm based on objective criteria, agreement with the index treating provider increased to 115/207 (55.6%).
Although an important contributor to pediatric ED overcrowding, unnecessary or inappropriate visits are difficult to identify. We demonstrated poor reliability of clinician judgment to determine appropriateness of ED return visits, likely due to variability in clinical decision-making and risk-tolerance, social and systems factors impacting access and use of health care. We recommend that future studies evaluating the appropriateness of ED use standardized, objective criteria rather than clinician judgment alone.
Reproduced with permission
Analysis of clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients with COVID-19 based on a series of 1000 patients treated in Spanish emergency departments
Gil-Rodrigo A, et al. Emergencias. 2020;32:233-41
To describe the clinical characteristics of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) in Spain, and to assess associations between characteristics and outcomes.
Prospective, multicenter, nested-cohort study. Sixty-one EDs included a random sample of all patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1 and April 30, 2020. Demographic and baseline health information, including concomitant conditions; clinical characteristics related to the ED visit and complementary test results; and treatments were recorded throughout the episode in the ED. We calculated crude and adjusted odds ratios for risk of in-hospital death and a composite outcome consisting of the following events: intensive care unit admission, orotracheal intubation or mechanical ventilation, or in-hospital death. The logistic regression models were constructed with 3 groups of independent variables: the demographic and baseline health characteristics, clinical characteristics and complementary test results related to the ED episode, and treatments.
he mean (SD) age of patients was 62 (18) years. Most had high- or low-grade fever, dry cough, dyspnea, and diarrhea. The most common concomitant conditions were cardiovascular diseases, followed by respiratory diseases and cancer. Baseline patient characteristics that showed a direct and independent association with worse outcome (death and the composite outcome) were age and obesity. Clinical variables directly associated with worse outcomes were impaired consciousness and pulmonary crackles; headache was inversely associated with worse outcomes. Complementary test findings that were directly associated with outcomes were bilateral lung infiltrates, lymphopenia, a high platelet count, a D-dimer concentration over 500 mg/dL, and a lactate-dehydrogenase concentration over 250 IU/L in blood.
This profile of the clinical characteristics and comorbidity of patients with COVID-19 treated in EDs helps us predict outcomes and identify cases at risk of exacerbation. The information can facilitate preventive measures and improve outcomes.
Reproduced with permission
Measuring 'Need for Recovery' as an indicator of staff well-being in the emergency department: a survey study
Graham B, et al. Emerg Med J. 2020;37(9):555-561
The Need for Recovery (NFR) Scale is an 11-item questionnaire that assesses how work affects intershift recovery. Items are summated to form a score with a maximum value of 100. Previously reported scores range from 38 in nurses to 55 in miners. This study aimed to determine the NFR Score among ED staff and to identify whether the NFR Score was associated with characteristics potentially implicated with recovery from work.
Staff in a single ED in the South West of England (annual attendances of 93 000) were asked to complete an electronic questionnaire incorporating the NFR Scale plus additional items relating to demographic, work-related and well-being characteristics, in their own time during January 2018. Descriptive statistics are presented, including median NFR Scores and associations with additional characteristics. Thematic analysis of free-text comments from an open-ended question was undertaken.
One hundred and sixty-eight responses were obtained (80.3% capture). Median NFR Score across all staff groups was 81.8 out of 100.0 (95% CI 72.7 to 81.8). Shift duration exceeding 12 hours, dissatisfaction with work-life balance and self-reported perceptions of burnout were associated with significantly elevated NFR Scores. Themes resulting from the open-ended question were 'barriers to intershift recovery' and 'coping with work'.
The NFR Scores in this study exceeded scores reported elsewhere and were associated with some demographic, occupational and well-being characteristics. The NFR Scale has utility to measure the need for intershift recovery among ED staff. A larger study is warranted to identify specific determinants of recovery and to provide recommendations.
Reproduced with permission