Reducing frequent visits to Emergency Departments

Jane George, Lynne Briggs


BACKGROUND: The Health and Wellbeing Connection (HWC) pilot study was undertaken by Richmond Services in partnership with Pegasus Health, Partnership Health and the Canterbury District Health Board.

OBJECTIVE: To explore whether a brief intervention offered to frequent attenders to hospital emergency department (ED) was successful in reducing inappropriate attendance.

METHODS: Administration of the Kessler Depression and Anxiety (K10) scale; the World Health Organization Quality of Life Measure (WHOQOL-BREF); extracted de-identified rates of attendance at an ED of a general hospital and general practice, and follow up telephone interviews with study participants were used.

RESULTS: By the end of the project, a total of 53 participants had completed the programme. On average, these participants reduced their attendance at the ED significantly while demonstrating no change in their attendance rates at general practice. Additionally, they reported a decrease in psychological distress and a positive increase in their quality of life.

CONCLUSION: Although the number of participants in this study does not allow for robust analysis of efficacy of the program offered, it does indicate that there is merit in continuing to develop brief intervention case management models to support behaviour change programmes in hospital EDs.


Frequent attenders, emergency department attendance, brief intervention

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