Judy A Lowthian, PhD, MPH, BAppSc (SpPath), Senior Research Fellow; Johannes U Stoelwinder, MD, FRACMA, FACHSE, Professor and Chair of Health Services Management; John J McNeil, AM, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, Professor and Head; Peter A Cameron, MBBS, MD, FACEM, Professor and Director, Academic Director of Emergency and Trauma Centre, Alfred Health.
Is the increase in emergency short-stay admissions sustainable? Trends across Melbourne, 2000 to 2009
Article first published online: 11 SEP 2012
© 2012 The Authors. EMA © 2012 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Australasian Society for Emergency Medicine
Emergency Medicine Australasia
Volume 24, Issue 6, pages 610–616, December 2012
How to Cite
Lowthian, J. A., Stoelwinder, J. U., McNeil, J. J. and Cameron, P. A. (2012), Is the increase in emergency short-stay admissions sustainable? Trends across Melbourne, 2000 to 2009. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 24: 610–616. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2012.01609.x
- Issue published online: 6 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 11 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 JUL 2012
- care model;
- emergency admission;
To describe the trends in emergency admissions over 10 years in terms of volume, age-specific rates, hospital length of stay (LOS) and clinical reasons.
A retrospective analysis of population-based linked Department of Health ED and hospital admission data for metropolitan Melbourne 1999/2000 to 2008/2009 was conducted. Outcome measures included: hospital admission numbers (total, single day/overnight, ≥2 days LOS); admission rates per 1000 person-years (total, single day/overnight, ≥2 days LOS); hospital LOS.
The volume of patients admitted to hospital through EDs rose by 56% over the 10 years to June 2009. The number of same day/overnight admissions rose by 60%, equating to a 6.1% average annual increase beyond that accounted for by demographic change (95% CI 5.7–6.5%). The volume of patients admitted for ≥2 days also increased; however, the admission rate per 1000 persons for these longer-stay patients declined over the decade by 9% (95% CI 5–12%). The most frequent discharge diagnoses were injury or poisoning, and disorders of the circulatory, respiratory or digestive systems. The numbers and mortality rate for ED admissions declined over the decade.
Emergency hospital admissions have risen over the last decade even after adjustment for population changes. There was a disproportionate rise in same day/overnight admissions, with overrepresentation of the elderly. This is possibly related to changes in ED models of care, including introduction of short-stay units, improved diagnostic and therapeutic capability, and risk-averse management to optimise safe discharge, within the context of time-based performance targets.