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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 14(4); 2003 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2003;14(4): 366-370.
Assessment of the Propriety of Separating the Pediatric Emergency Room from the Emergency Department
Jung Han Lee, Sung Taek Kim, Dae Yee Go, Tae Il Moon, Ok Jun Kim, Sung Wook Choi, Kyu Hyung Lee, Youn Kyung Cho
1Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, The Pocheon CHA University, Bundang, Korea. casiopea74@hanmail.net
2Department of Pediatrics College of Medicine, The Pocheon CHA University, Bundang, Korea.
3Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Pocheon CHA University, Bundang, Korea.
Recently, the emergency departments of most general hospitals have been overcrowded, and one of the major causes is the increased number of pediatric patients. Therefore, our hospital separated the pediatric emergency room from the emergency department, and we assessed the effect of that separation.
Pediatric patients below 15 years of age who visited the emergency department from March 1998 to February 1999, which was before the separation, and from March 1999 to February 2000, which was after the separation, were included in this study.
The average lengths of stay of pediatric and nonpediatric patients at emergency department before separation were 1.9+/-3.5 and 2.6+/-5 hours, respectively, and declined to 1.6+/-2.4 and 2.3+/-4.7 after separation (p<0.05). The waiting time until admission declined notably from 3.6+/-2.5 hours to 3.3+/-5.6 hours for pediatric patients, in spite of the fact that the number of pediatric admissions increased (p<0.05). In non-pediatric patients, it declined from 3.1+/-3.3 to 2.6+/-3.5 hours (p<0.05).
The separation of the emergency department into pediatric and non-pediatric departments reduced emergency-department crowding, the length of stay at the emergency department, and, the waiting time until admission. A fundamental solution to the problem of emergency-department crowding requires an independent pediatric emergency department, an increased number of emergency physicians, increased paramedic coverage, and more efficient hospital policies regarding laboratory, radiology, and admission procedures.
Key words: Pediatrics emergencies, time, patient admission, length of stay
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