Return visits to the paediatric emergency department

William Hollaway, Meredith L. Borland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the rate of unplanned return visits (uRVs) within 48 h to a paediatric ED over a 12-month period and describe the factors associated with these uRV. Methods: Retrospective review of electronic data regarding the initial and follow-up visit at a tertiary paediatric hospital ED in Western Australia. The primary outcome was the number of patients who presented for uRV within 48 h of their initial ED visit. Results: Between August 2018 and July 2019, 2322 patients returned to the ED for a uRV comprising 3.4% of 68 352 ED presentations with more than 53% returning with infectious causes. Triage category 3 patients were most likely to represent (OR 1.11, P = 0.029) with 3-month to 1-year old (OR 1.37, P < 0.00001) and 1–5-year old (OR 1.32, P < 0.00001) the commonest age groups. There was seasonal variation in uRVs demonstrating a greater number in the winter months. The percentage of uRVs to overall ED presentations was greater in the summer months (3.8–4.1%). There was a significant increase in uRVs occurring up to 2 weeks after the changeovers in middle-grade ED doctors only. Conclusions: The present study has demonstrated associations between uRV and initial-visit triage category 3, age between 3 months and 5 years, and presentations because of infectious illness. Middle-grade doctor changeover was also associated with an increase in uRVs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-589
Number of pages6
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number4
Early online dateMar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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