Conflict of interest: None.
Emergency department presentations by Aboriginal children: Issues for consideration for appropriate health services
Article first published online: 21 MAY 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2013 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 49, Issue 9, pages E448–E450, September 2013
How to Cite
Duncan, C., Williams, K., Nathanson, D., Thomas, S., Cottier, C., O'Meara, M. and Zwi, K. (2013), Emergency department presentations by Aboriginal children: Issues for consideration for appropriate health services. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 49: E448–E450. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12225
- Issue published online: 5 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 21 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 OCT 2012
- emergency service;
- health services research
This study describes the presentations made to the Sydney Children's Hospital (SCH) Emergency Department (ED) by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) children with particular reference to children who present frequently or whose presentation was preventable.
Data from the SCH ED Information System were extracted for all presentations made by children who identified as Aboriginal, aged between 0–15 years, who presented between 2005–2008. Presentations were coded according to the presenting problem, diagnosis, outcome, and whether the presentations were potentially preventable. Preventable presentations include those presentations considered to be avoidable and those that could have been managed by a local primary care or community service.
There were 1252 presentations to the SCH ED by 453 Aboriginal children aged 0–15 years. More than 50% of children presented more than once. Seventy-nine children presented more than five times. Nearly 45% of presentations were coded as potentially preventable.
A significant proportion of ED presentations were potentially preventable with the use of culturally appropriate and accessible local community and primary health care services and better referral pathways back to these services. Community engagement is required to raise awareness of common presentations and to look at strategies to prevent common problems both occurring and presenting to the ED. This will enhance the health of urban Aboriginal children.