Article Title

Prevalence and characteristics of frequent presenters to Auburn Hospital emergency department


Objectives: Frequent presenters (FPs) to the ED are common and contribute to ED overcrowding. Our aim was to identify the proportion of FPs over a 12-month period and to investigate the sociodemographic, clinical and attendance characteristics of FPs.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study of adult patients (≥18 years) presenting to Auburn Hospital ED between 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. Patients with ≥4 presentations in 12 months were classified as FP. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess associations between sociodemographic characteristics and FP.

Results: During the study period, there were 22 679 presentations to the ED from 16 624 adult patients. FPs represented 5.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.8–5.5) of the total population, but 15.8% of the total ED visits. Median age of FPs was 46 years (interquartile range 29–72), 51.9% were males. Age over 65 was the strongest determinant of FP (odds ratio [OR] 2.33; 95% CI 2.01–2.72 adjusted for sex). FP was more likely for Arabic speakers compared to English speakers (OR 1.54; 95% CI 1.28–1.86 adjusted for age and sex) and least likely for Mandarin speakers (adjusted OR 0.40; 95% CI 0.27–0.59).

Conclusions: FPs represent a significant proportion of ED visits, yet a small proportion of ED patients. Our findings suggest that identifying ways to provide targeted services to older FPs may reduce the overall rates. The differences between language groups and FP highlights the importance of social context and culture when developing targeted interventions.


Australia, emergency department, frequent attender, frequent presenter, medical record database

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