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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2005 Aug;21(8):498-501.

Ankle sprain discharge instructions from the emergency department.

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Department of Pediatrics, Section of Adolescent Medicine and Sports Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



(1) To describe the incidence of inclusion of early mobilization components in emergency department (ED) discharge instructions; (2) to describe the prescribed follow-up appointments; and (3) to analyze the differences between the treatment of pediatric and adult patients.


A 1-year retrospective chart review of ED records of a large urban hospital was performed. Medical records of 374 (95%) of the 397 adult and pediatric patients with ICD-9 code for ankle sprains were reviewed (213 males and 171 females, mean age 28.4 +/- 14.5; 291 adults, 93 pediatric).


Sixteen percent of records contained discharge instructions that included rest, ice, compression, elevation, and medications (RICEM). Twenty percent included RICE. Pediatricians (33.7%) were more likely than adult physicians (10.3%) to have given RICEM (P < 0.0001) and RICE (P = 0.05, pedi = 45.8%, adult = 13.1%). Follow-up referrals were recommended as needed 50% of the time. Follow-up referrals were made to community clinics (59%), orthopedic clinic (23%), the ED (14%), and others (4%). Pediatricians were more likely to recommend routine scheduled follow up (pedi = 62%, adult = 47%, P = 0.018), suggest follow-up in a community clinic or doctors office (pedi = 68.6%, adult = 51.2%, P < 0.0001), and to recommend earlier follow up (pedi = 1.6 weeks +/- 1.1, adult = 2.0 weeks +/- 1.1, P = 0.002) than adult physicians.


Programs that train physicians who work in the ED need to include education on the proper treatment, rehabilitation, and follow up of patients with acute ankle sprains. Providing easy-to-complete discharge instruction templates can help providers give patients discharge instructions that may help patients minimize the risk of long-term sequelae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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