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Acute paediatric care and unplanned consultations - a survey in health care facilities in the "Grand Lyon" area

, : Acute paediatric care and unplanned consultations - a survey in health care facilities in the "Grand Lyon" area. Archives de Pediatrie 11(2): 108-114

With the increasing number of emergency paediatric consultations, two surveys "on a given day" were performed in the "Communauté Urbaine de Lyon", with the aim of analyzing the causes, circumstances, and relevance of these unplanned consultations, as well as a better understanding of the itinerary of these patients. Unplanned consultations concerned children less than 18 years old seen in consultation on Saturday April 21, and Thursday December 13, 2001, in all medical facilities capable of delivering emergency paediatric care. Data collection was performed by filling out a questionnaire given to the family and the physicians (general practitioner who were chosen randomly, or paediatricians volunteering for the study), working in general medicine sectors, at the outpatient emergency consultation of the "Groupement des Pédiatres du Lyonnais", and in all the emergency departments to which children could be addressed (public hospitals and private clinics). "SOS Médecins" did not participate in this study but communicated its activity a posteriori. Six hundred and eighty three consultations on the Saturday and 1183 on the Thursday were analyzed. An estimation of the total number of consultations was performed taking into account the proportion of practitioners participating in the survey, with a total number of 1813 consultations on the Saturday and 4576 on the Thursday. Consultations in the private setting (by practitioners or organized emergency centers) accounted for 82% on the Saturday (general practitioners 70%, paediatricians 12%) and 93% on the Thursday (general practitioners 75%, paediatricians 18%), public hospitals 13% and 4% and private clinics 5% and 2%, respectively. Parents considered the problem to be serious in 10-40% of the cases, depending on the setting. The reason justifying consultation was generally medical (pain or discomfort, fear of complication, less frequently feeling of imminent danger). Non-medical reasons (proximity of the week-end, personal reasons, absence or unavailability of usual practitioner) concerned a fourth of the Thursday consultations and up to half of the Saturday consultations. An urgent consultation was estimated not be justified in 13% of the cases according to the physicians. The main reason for going to a hospital was that "everything would be available on site". On Saturday the absence of the usual practitioner was the most cited reason. The global itinerary was deemed satisfactory by the physicians in 82% of the cases. Unplanned consultations are found in three situations: routine and accepted activity of medical office (consultation without an appointment), urgent medical problem (or estimated to be urgent), and the result of a dysfunction between the medical possibilities of the health care system and its use by the parents. This last point opens two possibilities of action which are the information and education of families and the networking of physicians involved in emergency consultations with the aim of reducing hospital consultations by 15-20%.


PMID: 14761731

DOI: 10.1016/j.arcped.2003.11.006

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