Repeated users of a psychiatric emergency service in a Canadian general hospital
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The authors of this study examine the demographic and clinical characteristics of repeated users of psychiatric emergency room services in a general hospital. 37.8% of all the patients (913) seen during one year had one or more visits to the emergency room in the six months preceding the index emergency room consultation. Repeaters were more likely than nonrepeaters to be unmarried, self referred and with a history of previous psychiatric treatment for a chronic psychiatric disorder. Factors affecting frequency of use of psychiatric emergency room services among different diagnostic groups were also studied. These results demonstrated the heterogeneity of the needs of the diverse diagnostic groups who over-utilize costly emergency room services. Our findings showed that in a country with universal health insurance, psychiatric emergency services also tend to reflect the gaps in the delivery of health services in the hospital and the community.
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