Assessing the utility of night‐time presentations as a proxy for alcohol‐related harm among young emergency department trauma patients

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Objective: To assess the usefulness of night-time presentations to measure alcohol-related harm (ARH) in young trauma patients, aged 12-24 years, attending Western Australian EDs.Methods: A retrospective longitudinal study examined alcohol-related ED presentations in Western Australia (WA; 2002-2016) among 12- to 24-year-olds. Data from the Emergency Department Data Collection, WA State Trauma Registry Database and Hospital Morbidity Data Collection were used to identify ARH through specific codes and text searches. These were compared to ARH estimates based on presentation time. Statistical analysis involved sensitivity and specificity calculations and Cox proportional hazards modelling.Results: We identified 2644 (17.8%) night-time presentations as a proxy measure of ARH among the 14 887 presentations of patients aged 12-24 years. This closely matched the 3064 (20.6%) identified as ARH through coding methods. The highest risk for an ARH presentation occurred during the night hours between 00.00 and 04.59 hours. During these hours, the risk was 4.4-5.1 times higher compared to presentations at midday (between 12.00 and 12.59 hours). However, when looking at individual patients, we observed that night-time presentations were not a strong predictor of ARH (sensitivity: 0.39; positive predictive value: 0.46).Conclusions: Implementing targeted interventions during night hours could be beneficial in addressing ARH presentations. However, relying solely on the time of presentation as a proxy for ARH is unlikely to effectively identify ARH in young individuals. Instead, the present study emphasises the importance of implementing mandatory data collection strategies in EDs to ensure accurate measurement of ARH cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
JournalEmergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number1
Early online date14 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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