Date of Award

10-5-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.N.

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

El-Masri, Maher

Keywords

emergency department, mental illness, non-urgent, utilization

Abstract

There has been an increase in Emergency Department (ED) visits for mental health care across North America. Those with mental illness are at an increased risk for frequent ED visitation, often visiting for non-urgent reasons. While a plethora of literature exists examining frequent ED use for mental health care, there is little known about those who use the ED for non-urgent psychiatric complaints. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to explore the independent predictors of non-urgent ED use for mental health care. A total of 13,114 observations were examined using logistic regression with generalized estimating equations modeling. The findings suggest the following characteristics are predictive of non-urgent ED use for mental health care: age, season, time of day, access to primary health care, mode of arrival, hospital type, patient diagnosis and referral source. Unadjusted analyses also suggest that the wait time, the main provider in the ED, residential status, and the disposition status are associated with non-urgent ED use for mental health care. Future research should aim to incorporate a prospective study design and a qualitative methodology to gain an understanding of the contextual factors that influence those using the ED for nonurgent mental health care.

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