Review article: People who present on multiple occasions to emergency departments

Katherine Nelson, Margaret Connor, Cynthia Wensley, Cheryle Moss, Margaret Pack, Tania Hussey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Research about people who present on multiple occasions to the ED began in the 1980s. Despite this, little is known of their journey as patients. Understanding ED use as a journey can help clinicians improve how they meet the needs of this patient group. Multiple terms were used to identify research on the use of the ED. Papers were included if they had a primary focus on multiple presentations by the general ED population. Integrative review methods were used to extract findings related to the patients' journeys. The findings confirm a sequence of events and processes that provide an outline of the journey through the experience of people who present on multiple occasions. The journey concerns people's decisions to present and re‐present to the ED, their assessments on arrival, dilemmas of treatment, outcomes of care and long‐term health outcomes. This patient group often have high and complex health needs, engage extensively with other health services and have poor long‐term health outcomes. The issue of multiple presentations to the ED is complex and ongoing because of the morbidity of the people concerned, the preference of patients to attend, the purpose of the ED and preparation and role of the personnel and the difficulties with continuity of care. The provision of care for people who present on multiple occasions can be improved within the ED and health services generally through a better understanding of presentations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)532-540
    Number of pages9
    JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
    Issue number5
    Early online date27 Jun 2011
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


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