Emergency Department Presentations by Children in Remote Australia: A Population-based Study

Philippa Jane Dossetor, Emily F.M. Fitzpatrick, Kathryn Glass, Kirsty Douglas, Rochelle Watkins, June Oscar, Maureen Carter, David Harley, Heather E. Jeffery, Elizabeth Jane Elliott, Alexandra L.C. Martiniuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background. Aboriginal leaders invited us to examine the frequency and reasons for emergency department (ED) presentations by children in remote Western Australia, where Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (PAE) is common. Methods. ED presentations (2007-11 inclusive) were examined for all children born in the Fitzroy Valley in 2002-03. Results. ED data for 127/134 (94.7%) children (95% Aboriginal) showed 1058 presentations over 5-years. Most (81%) had at least 1 presentation (median 9.0, range 1-50). Common presentations included: screening/follow-up/social reasons (16.0%), injury (15.1%), diseases of the ear (14.9%), skin (13.8%), respiratory tract (13.4%), and infectious and parasitic diseases (9.8%). PAE and higher presentations rates were associated. Commonly associated socio-economic factors were household over-crowding, financial and food insecurity. Conclusion. Children in very remote Fitzroy Crossing communities have high rates of preventable ED presentations, especially those with PAE. Support for culturally appropriate preventative programs and improved access to primary health services need to be provided in remote Australia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Pediatric Health
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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