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Eur J Public Health. 2006 Oct;16(5):565-9. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Paediatric utilization of an emergency department in Italy.

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Hygiene, Medical School, University of Catanzaro Magna Graecia, Catanzaro, Italy.



The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency and characteristics of paediatric attendance as a source of medically non-urgent problems at an accident and emergency department (ED) of a public non-teaching hospital in Crotone (Italy).


For each patient aged 16 years or younger, there were collected information on demographics and socioeconomic characteristics, medical history, route of referral, clinical complaints that they presented at the moment of their presentation at the ED, duration of presenting problems prior to arrival, hour of arrival, day of the week of arrival, and reason for attending the ED. Data about the consultation process and the final decision made were also recorded.


Of a total of 980 patients included in the study, 27.6% had conditions that were definitely non-urgent. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the visit was non-urgent in younger population, in females, and in those attending the ED on the weekend. The results of the second multivariable regression analysis model indicate that patients who did not receive medical or surgical examination at the ED, with problems of longer duration prior to arrival at the ED, with non-traumatic injuries, and who did not require inpatient hospital admission were more likely to use the ED as a source of non-urgent care. The most frequent presenting problems for patient visits to ED were injury, respiratory diseases, and digestive symptoms.


A closer cooperation within the health care organization system to provide a service responsive to the real needs of patients is essential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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