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East Mediterr Health J. 2012 Jan;18(1):56-65.

[Reasons for using emergency departments of major hospitals in Greater Tunis].

[Article in French]

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Institut National de Santé Publique, Tunis, Tunisie.


Tunisia, similar to many countries, has a problem of overcrowding of the emergency departments (ED). This study aimed to analyse the reasons for using EDs, and to describe the seriousness of the attendees' condition and their itinerary before their arrival at ED. This cross-sectional study in 2009 was conducted in ED of 4 hospitals in GreaterTunis and targeted 1058 patients of both sexes, aged 18 years, with stratification according to time of day of presentation to ED (morning, afternoon and evening). Information was recorded on the sociodemographic characteristics of the study participants, reasons for choosing ED, time of and reason for consultation, diagnosis and severity of illness. Over half the patients (52.5%) were male and the mean age was 46.0 (SD 18.1) years. The main reasons for choosing the ED were: speed (54.0%) and ease of access (47.7%) of ER and occurrence of an acute episode (26.4%). Patients with serious illness accounted for only 6.3% of those interviewed. Implementation of good practices and better coordination between public and private services and the ED are needed to reduce unnecessary visits to ED.

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