Browsing by Subject "Emergency department"

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  • Lindbäck, Hans-Jacob (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    To improve patient flow in inpatient instances, the whole care process must be mapped and analyzed. This observational study was performed during one month, to identify direct and indirect factors impacting patient flow, to further enable the planning of appropriate countermeasures to diminish patient boarding, whilst improving patient flow and overall satisfaction. The core of lean methodology is to provide the quality services whilst avoiding waste and ridding the process of unnecessary work. Patients and caregivers were followed in person whilst simultaneously collecting timestamps and conducting observations. The results helped uncover issues potentially causing significant bottlenecks and thus delays in patient care. Due to the limited nature of the project, further investigations are in order before conclusions are made. (119)
  • Penttila, Tero; Makynen, Heikki; Hartikainen, Juha; Hyppola, Harri; Lauri, Timo; Lehto, Mika; Lund, Juha; Raatikainen, M. J. Pekka; FinFib2 Investigators (2017)
    Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common arrhythmia that causes numerous visits to emergency departments (ED). The aim of the FinFib2 study was to evaluate whether treatment of patients with AF in ED is consistent with the contemporary European Society of Cardiology (ESC) management guidelines. Here we report the results of antiarrhythmic drug therapy (AAD) in ED. Methods: All patients within the two-week study period whose primary reason for the ED visit was symptomatic AF were included into this prospective multicentre study. Comprehensive data on factors contributing to the treatment of AF were collected, including a data of previous use of ADDs, and changes made for them during a visit in ED. Results: The study population consisted of 1013 consecutive patients (mean age 70 +/- 13 years, 47.6% female). The mean European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) symptom score was 2.2 +/- 0.8. Rhythm control strategy was opt for 498 (63.8%) and 140 (64.5%) patients with previously and newly diagnosed AF, respectively. In patients with previously diagnosed AF the most frequently used AAD was a beta blocker (80.9%). Prior use of class I (11.4%) and III (9.1%) AADs as well as start or adjustment of their dosage (7.4%) were uncommon. Most of the patients with newly diagnosed AF were prescribed a beta blocker (71.0%) or a calcium channel antagonist (24.0%), and only two of them received class I or class III AADs. Conclusions: Our data demonstrated that in patients presenting to the ED with recurrent symptomatic AF and aimed for rhythm control strategy, the use of class I and class III AADs was rare despite ESC guideline recommendations. It is possible that early adaptation of a more aggressive rhythm control strategy might improve a quality of life for symptomatic patients and alleviate the ED burden associated with AF. Beta blockers were used by majority of patients as rate control therapy both in rate and rhythm control groups.
  • Kankaanpää, Meri; Holma-Eriksson, Marika; Kapanen, Sami; Heitto, Merja; Bergström, Sari; Muukkonen, Leila; Harjola, Veli-Pekka (2018)
    Background: In this study, we hypothesized that point of care testing (POCT) would reduce length of stay (LOS) in emergency department (ED) when compared to central laboratory testing and be a factor in patient discharge destination. Methods: A single centre observational study was performed in ED non-ambulatory patients. Blood testing was performed either with POC instruments for blood gases and chemistry panel, full blood count, and CRP, or at central laboratory, or as a combination of both. Blood draw and POCTs were performed by experienced nurses. Results: During the 4- week study period, 1759 patients underwent sample testing (POCT: n = 160, central lab: n = 951; both n = 648). Median waiting time for blood sampling was 19 min less in POCT than central laboratory (0: 52 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0:46-1:02) vs. 1:11 (95% CI 1:05-1:14), p <0.001). POCT results were available faster in both discharge groups, as expected. When imaging was not required, patients in POCT group were discharged home 55 min faster (4:57 (95% CI 3:59-6:17) vs. 5:52 (95% CI 5:21-6:35), p = 0.012) and 1 h 22 min faster when imaging was performed (5:48 (95% CI 5: 26-6: 18) vs. 7:10 (95% CI 6:47-8:26), p = 0.010). Similar reduction in sampling time and LOS was not seen among those admitted to hospital. Conclusions: POCT shortened the laboratory process and made results available faster than the central lab. This allowed patients to be discharged home quicker. Thus, with proper training and education of the ED care team, POCT can be used as an effective tool for improving patient flow.
  • Kankaanpää, Meri; Holma-Eriksson, Marika; Kapanen, Sami; Heitto, Merja; Bergström, Sari; Muukkonen, Leila; Harjola, Veli-Pekka (BioMed Central, 2018)
    Abstract Background In this study, we hypothesized that point of care testing (POCT) would reduce length of stay (LOS) in emergency department (ED) when compared to central laboratory testing and be a factor in patient discharge destination. Methods A single centre observational study was performed in ED non-ambulatory patients. Blood testing was performed either with POC instruments for blood gases and chemistry panel, full blood count, and CRP, or at central laboratory, or as a combination of both. Blood draw and POCTs were performed by experienced nurses. Results During the 4-week study period, 1759 patients underwent sample testing (POCT: n = 160, central lab: n = 951; both n = 648). Median waiting time for blood sampling was 19 min less in POCT than central laboratory (0:52 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0:46–1:02) vs. 1:11 (95% CI 1:05–1:14), p < 0.001). POCT results were available faster in both discharge groups, as expected. When imaging was not required, patients in POCT group were discharged home 55 min faster (4:57 (95% CI 3:59–6:17) vs. 5:52 (95% CI 5:21–6:35), p = 0.012) and 1 h 22 min faster when imaging was performed (5:48 (95% CI 5:26–6:18) vs. 7:10 (95% CI 6:47–8:26), p = 0.010). Similar reduction in sampling time and LOS was not seen among those admitted to hospital. Conclusions POCT shortened the laboratory process and made results available faster than the central lab. This allowed patients to be discharged home quicker. Thus, with proper training and education of the ED care team, POCT can be used as an effective tool for improving patient flow.
  • Miro, Oscar; Gil, Victor; Xipell, Carolina; Sanchez, Carolina; Aguilo, Sira; Martin-Sanchez, Francisco J.; Herrero, Pablo; Jacob, Javier; Mebazaa, Alexandre; Harjola, Veli-Pekka; Llorens, Pere; ICA-SEMES Res Grp (2017)
    Objective To define the short-and mid-term outcomes of patients discharged after an episode of acute-decompensated heart failure (ADHF) and evaluate the differences between patients discharged directly from the emergency department (ED) and those discharged after hospitalization. Methods We performed a prospective, multicenter, cohort-designed study, including consecutive patients diagnosed with ADHF in 27 Spanish EDs. Thirty-four variables on epidemiology, comorbidity, baseline status, vital signs, signs of congestion, laboratory tests, and treatment were collected in every patient. The primary outcome was a combined endpoint of ED revisit (without hospitalization) or hospitalization due to ADHF, or all-cause death. Secondary outcomes were each of these three events individually. Outcomes were obtained by survival analysis at different timepoints in the entire cohort, and crude and adjusted comparisons were carried out between patients discharged directly from the ED and after hospitalization. Results Of the 3233 patients diagnosed with ADHF during a 2-month period, we analyzed 2986 patients discharged alive: 787 (26.4%) discharged from the ED and 2199 (73.6%) after hospitalization. The cumulative percentages of events for the whole cohort (at 7/30/180 days) for the combined endpoint were 7.8/24.7/57.8; for ED revisit 2.5/9.4/25.5; for hospitalization 4.6/15.3/40.7; and for death 0.9/4.3/16.8. After adjustment for patient profile and center, significant increases were found in the hazard ratios for ED-compared to hospital-discharged patients in the combined endpoint, ED revisit and hospitalization, being higher at short-term [at 7 days, 2.373 (1.678-3.355), 2.069 (1.188-3.602), and 3.071 (1.915-4.922), respectively] than at mid-term [at 180 days, 1.368 (1.160-1.614), 1.642 (1.265-2.132), and 1.302 (1.044-1.623), respectively]. No significant differences were found in death. Conclusions Patients with ADHF discharged from the ED have worse outcomes, especially at short term, than those discharged after hospitalization. The definition and implementation of effective strategies to improve patient selection for direct ED discharge are needed.
  • Schepel, Lotta; Lehtonen, Lasse; Airaksinen, Marja; Ojala, Raimo; Ahonen, Jouni; Lapatto-Reiniluoto, Outi (2018)
    BACKGROUND: 10-30% of hospital stays by older patients are drug-related. The admission phase is important for identifying drug-related problems, but taking an incorrect medication history often leads to medication errors. OBJECTIVES: To enhance medication history recording and identify drug-related problems (DRPs) of older patients admitted to emergency departments (EDs). METHODS: DRPs were identified by pharmacists-led medication reconciliation and review procedures in two EDs in Finland; Helsinki University Hospital (HUS), and Kuopio University Hospital (KUH). One-hundred-and-fifty patients aged >= 65-years, living at home and using >= 6 medicines were studied. RESULTS: 100% of patients (N = 75) in HUS and 99% in KUH (N = 75), had discrepancies in their admission-medication chart recorded by the nurse or physician. Associations between admission-diagnosis and drug-related problems were found in 12 patients (16%) in HUS and 22 patients (29%) in KUH. Of these, high-alert medications (e.g. antithrombotics, cytostatics, opioids) were linked to eight patients (11%) in HUS and six patients (8%) in KUH. Other acute DRPs were identified in 19 patients (25%) in HUS and 54 patients (72%) in KUH. Furthermore, 67 patients (89%) in HUS and all patients in KUH had non-acute DRPs. CONCLUSIONS: Medication reconciliation and review at admission of older ED patients requires improvement in Finland.
  • Kemp, Kirsi; Alakare, Janne; Harjola, Veli-Pekka; Strandberg, Timo; Tolonen, Jukka; Lehtonen, Lasse; Castrén, Maaret (BioMed Central, 2020)
    Abstract Background The aim of the emergency department (ED) triage is to recognize critically ill patients and to allocate resources. No strong evidence for accuracy of the current triage instruments, especially for the older adults, exists. We evaluated the National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS2) and a 3-level triage assessment as risk predictors for frail older adults visiting the ED. Methods This prospective, observational study was performed in a Finnish ED. The data were collected in a six-month period and included were ≥ 75-year-old residents with Clinical Frailty Scale score of at least four. We analyzed the predictive values of NEWS2 and the three-level triage scale for 30-day mortality, hospital admission, high dependency unit (HDU) and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, a count of 72-h and 30-day revisits, and ED length-of-stay (LOS). Results A total of 1711 ED visits were included. Median for age, CFS, LOS and NEWS2 were 85 years, 6 points, 6.2 h and 1 point, respectively. 30-day mortality was 96/1711. At triage, 69, 356 and 1278 of patients were assessed as red, yellow and green, respectively. There were 1103 admissions, of them 31 to an HDU facility, none to ICU. With NEWS2 and triage score, AUCs for 30-day mortality prediction were 0.70 (0.64–0.76) and 0.62 (0.56–0.68); for hospital admission prediction 0.62 (0.60–0.65) and 0.55 (0.52–0.56), and for HDU admission 0.72 (0.61–0.83) and 0.80 (0.70–0.90), respectively. The NEWS2 divided into risk groups of low, medium and high did not predict the ED LOS (p = 0.095). There was a difference in ED LOS between the red/yellow and as red/green patient groups (p < 0.001) but not between the yellow/green groups (p = 0.59). There were 48 and 351 revisits within 72 h and 30 days, respectively. With NEWS2 AUCs for 72-h and 30-day revisit prediction were 0.48 (95% CI 0.40–0.56) and 0.47 (0.44–0.51), respectively; with triage score 0.48 (0.40–0.56) and 0.49 (0.46–0.52), respectively. Conclusions The NEWS2 and a local 3-level triage scale are statistically significant, but poor in accuracy, in predicting 30-day mortality, and HDU admission but not ED LOS or revisit rates for frail older adults. NEWS2 also seems to predict hospital admission.
  • Kemp, Kirsi; Alakare, Janne; Harjola, Veli-Pekka; Strandberg, Timo; Tolonen, Jukka; Lehtonen, Lasse; Castrén, Maaret (2020)
    Background The aim of the emergency department (ED) triage is to recognize critically ill patients and to allocate resources. No strong evidence for accuracy of the current triage instruments, especially for the older adults, exists. We evaluated the National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS2) and a 3-level triage assessment as risk predictors for frail older adults visiting the ED. Methods This prospective, observational study was performed in a Finnish ED. The data were collected in a six-month period and included were >= 75-year-old residents with Clinical Frailty Scale score of at least four. We analyzed the predictive values of NEWS2 and the three-level triage scale for 30-day mortality, hospital admission, high dependency unit (HDU) and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, a count of 72-h and 30-day revisits, and ED length-of-stay (LOS). Results A total of 1711 ED visits were included. Median for age, CFS, LOS and NEWS2 were 85 years, 6 points, 6.2 h and 1 point, respectively. 30-day mortality was 96/1711. At triage, 69, 356 and 1278 of patients were assessed as red, yellow and green, respectively. There were 1103 admissions, of them 31 to an HDU facility, none to ICU. With NEWS2 and triage score, AUCs for 30-day mortality prediction were 0.70 (0.64-0.76) and 0.62 (0.56-0.68); for hospital admission prediction 0.62 (0.60-0.65) and 0.55 (0.52-0.56), and for HDU admission 0.72 (0.61-0.83) and 0.80 (0.70-0.90), respectively. The NEWS2 divided into risk groups of low, medium and high did not predict the ED LOS (p = 0.095). There was a difference in ED LOS between the red/yellow and as red/green patient groups (p <0.001) but not between the yellow/green groups (p = 0.59). There were 48 and 351 revisits within 72 h and 30 days, respectively. With NEWS2 AUCs for 72-h and 30-day revisit prediction were 0.48 (95% CI 0.40-0.56) and 0.47 (0.44-0.51), respectively; with triage score 0.48 (0.40-0.56) and 0.49 (0.46-0.52), respectively. Conclusions The NEWS2 and a local 3-level triage scale are statistically significant, but poor in accuracy, in predicting 30-day mortality, and HDU admission but not ED LOS or revisit rates for frail older adults. NEWS2 also seems to predict hospital admission.
  • Kemp, Kirsi; Mertanen, Reija; Lääperi, Mitja; Niemi-Murola, Leila; Lehtonen, Lasse; Castren, Maaret (2020)
    Background Nonspecific complaint (NSC) is a common presenting complaint in the emergency setting, especially in the elderly population. Individual studies have shown that it is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This prognostic systematic review draws a synthesis of reported outcomes for patients presenting with NSC and compares them with outcomes for patients presenting with a specific complaint. Methods We conducted a literature search for publications, abstracts and conference presentations from Ovid, Scopus and Web of Science for the past 20 years. Studies were included which treated adult patients presenting to the Emergency Medical Services or Emergency Department with NSC. 2599 studies were screened for eligibility and quality was assessed using the SIGN assessment for bias tool. We excluded any low-quality studies, resulting in nine studies for quantitative analysis. We analysed the included studies for in-hospital mortality, triage category, emergency department length of stay, admission rate, hospital length of stay, intensive care admissions and re-visitation rate and compared outcomes to patients presenting with specific complaints (SC), where data were available. We grouped discharge diagnoses by ICD-10 category. Results We found that patients presenting with NSC were mostly older adults. Mortality for patients with NSC was significantly increased compared to patients presenting with SC [OR 2.50 (95% CI 1.40-4.47)]. They were triaged as urgent less often than SC patients [OR 2.12 (95% CI 1.08-4.16)]. Emergency department length of stay was increased in two out of three studies. Hospital length of stay was increased by 1-3 days. Admission rates were high in most studies, 55 to 84%, and increased in comparison to patients with SC [OR 3.86 (95% CI 1.76-8.47)]. These patients seemed to require more resources than patients with SC. The number for intensive care admissions did not seem to be increased. Data were insufficient to make conclusions regarding re-visitation rates. Discharge diagnoses were spread throughout the ICD-10 main chapters, infections being the most prevalent. Conclusions Patients with NSC have a high risk of mortality and their care in the Emergency Department requires more time and resources than for patients with SC. We suggest that NSC should be considered a major emergency presentation.
  • Kemp, Kirsi; Mertanen, Reija; Lääperi, Mitja; Niemi-Murola, Leila; Lehtonen, Lasse; Castren, Maaret (BioMed Central, 2020)
    Abstract Background Nonspecific complaint (NSC) is a common presenting complaint in the emergency setting, especially in the elderly population. Individual studies have shown that it is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This prognostic systematic review draws a synthesis of reported outcomes for patients presenting with NSC and compares them with outcomes for patients presenting with a specific complaint. Methods We conducted a literature search for publications, abstracts and conference presentations from Ovid, Scopus and Web of Science for the past 20 years. Studies were included which treated adult patients presenting to the Emergency Medical Services or Emergency Department with NSC. 2599 studies were screened for eligibility and quality was assessed using the SIGN assessment for bias tool. We excluded any low-quality studies, resulting in nine studies for quantitative analysis. We analysed the included studies for in-hospital mortality, triage category, emergency department length of stay, admission rate, hospital length of stay, intensive care admissions and re-visitation rate and compared outcomes to patients presenting with specific complaints (SC), where data were available. We grouped discharge diagnoses by ICD-10 category. Results We found that patients presenting with NSC were mostly older adults. Mortality for patients with NSC was significantly increased compared to patients presenting with SC [OR 2.50 (95% CI 1.40–4.47)]. They were triaged as urgent less often than SC patients [OR 2.12 (95% CI 1.08–4.16)]. Emergency department length of stay was increased in two out of three studies. Hospital length of stay was increased by 1–3 days. Admission rates were high in most studies, 55 to 84%, and increased in comparison to patients with SC [OR 3.86 (95% CI 1.76–8.47)]. These patients seemed to require more resources than patients with SC. The number for intensive care admissions did not seem to be increased. Data were insufficient to make conclusions regarding re-visitation rates. Discharge diagnoses were spread throughout the ICD-10 main chapters, infections being the most prevalent. Conclusions Patients with NSC have a high risk of mortality and their care in the Emergency Department requires more time and resources than for patients with SC. We suggest that NSC should be considered a major emergency presentation.
  • Ljunggren, Malin; Castren, Maaret; Nordberg, Martin; Kurland, Lisa (2016)
    Background: Vital signs are widely used in emergency departments. Previous studies on the association between vital signs and mortality in emergency departments have been restricted to selected patient populations. We aimed to study the association of vital signs and age with 1-day mortality in patients visiting the emergency department. Methods: This retrospective cohort included patients visiting the emergency department for adults at Sodersjukhuset, Sweden from 4/1/2012 to 4/30/2013. Exclusion criteria were: age <18 years, deceased upon arrival, chief complaint circulatory or respiratory arrest, key data missing and patients who were directed to a certain fast track for conditions demanding little resources. Vital sign data was collected through the Rapid Emergency Triage and Treatment System-Adult (RETTS-A). Descriptive analyses and logistic regression models were used. The main outcome measure was 1-day mortality. Results: The 1-day mortality rate was 0.3 %. 96,512 patients met the study criteria. After adjustments of differences in the other vital signs, comorbidities, gender and age the following vital signs were independently associated with 1-day mortality: oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, temperature, level of consciousness, respiratory rate, pulse rate and age. The highest odds ratios was observed when comparing unresponsive to alert patients (OR 31.0, CI 16.9 to 56.8), patients >= 80 years to <50 years (OR 35.9, CI 10.7 to 120.2) and patients with respiratory rates <8/min to 8-25/min (OR 18.1, CI 2.1 to 155.5). Discussion: Most of the vital signs used in the ED are significantly associated with one-day mortality. The more the vital signs deviate from the normal range, the larger are the odds of mortality. We did not find a suitable way to adjust for the inherent influence the triage system and medical treatment has had on mortality. Conclusions: Most deviations of vital signs are associated with 1-day mortality. The same triage level is not associated with the same odds for death with respect to the individual vital sign. Patients that were unresponsive or had low respiratory rates or old age had the highest odds of 1-day mortality.
  • Mustonen, Katri; Kantonen, Jarmo; Kauppila, Timo (BioMed Central, 2017)
    Abstract Background It has not been studied what happens to patient flow to EDs and other parts of local health care system if distances to ED services are manipulated as a part of health policy in urban areas. Methods The present work was an observational and quasi-experimental study with a control and it was based on before-after comparisons. The impact of terminating a geographically distant suburban primary care ED on patient flow to doctors in local public primary care EDs, office-hour primary care, secondary care EDs and in private primary care was studied. The effect of this intervention was compared with a primary care system where no similar intervention was performed. The number of monthly visits to doctors in different departments of health care was scored as the main measure of the study in each department studied (e.g. in primary care EDs, secondary care ED, office-hour public primary care and private primary care). Monthly mortality rates were also recorded. Results Increasing the distance to ED services by terminating a peripheral ED did not cause an increase in the use of local office-hour services in those areas whose local ED was terminated, although use of ED services decreased by 25% in these areas (P < 0.001). The total use of primary care doctor services rather decreased - if anything - after this intervention while use of doctor services in secondary care ED remained unaffected. Doctor visits to the complementary private primary care increased but this was probably not associated with the intervention because a simultaneous increase in this parameter was observed in the control. There was no increased mortality in any age groups. Conclusion Manipulating distances to ED services can be used to direct patient flows to different parts of the health care system. The correlation between distance to ED and the tendency to use ED by inhabitants is negative. If secondary care ED was available there were no life-threatening side-effects at the level of general public health when a minor ED was closed in a primary care ED system.
  • Harjola, Pia; Boyd, James; Tarvasmäki, Tuukka; Mattila, Juho; Koski, Reijo; Kuisma, Markku; Harjola, Veli-Pekka (2017)
    Background: Real-life data on the role of emergency medical services (EMS) in acute heart failure (AHF) are scarce. Our aim was to describe prehospital treatment of AHF and to compare patients using EMS with self-presented, non-EMS patients. Methods: Data were collected retrospectively from three university hospitals in Helsinki metropolitan area between July 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013. According to the use of EMS, patients were divided into EMS and non-EMS groups. Results: The study included 873 AHF patients. One hundred were (11.5%) EMS and 773 (88.5%) non-EMS. EMS patients more often had comorbidities. Initial heart rate (HR) and peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO(2)) differed between EMS and non-EMS patients; mean HR 89.2 (SD 22.5) vs. 83.7 (21.5)/min (p = 0.02) and SpO(2) 90.3 (8.6) vs. 92.9 (6.6)% (p= 0.01). However, on presentation to ED EMS patients' vital signs were similar to non-EMS patients'. On presentation to ED 46.0% were normotensive and 68.2% "warm and wet". Thirty-four percentage of EMS patients received prehospital medication. In-hospital mortality was 6.0% and 7.1% (p = 0.84) and length of stay (LOS) 7.7 (7.0) and 8.5 (7.9) days (p= 0.36) in EMS and non-EMS groups. Conclusion: The use of EMS and administration of prehospital medication was low. EMS patients had initially worse HR and SpO(2) than non-EMS patients. However, EMS patients' signs improved and were similar on presentation to ED. There were no differences in in-hospital mortality and LOS. This underscores the need for equal attention to any AHF patient independent of the arrival mode. (c) 2017 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Hirvonen, Outi M.; Leskela, Riikka-Leena; Gronholm, Lotta; Haltia, Olli; Voltti, Samuli; Tyynelä-Korhonen, Kristiina; Rahko, Eeva K.; Lehto, Juho T.; Saarto, Tiina (2020)
    Background In order to avoid unnecessary use of hospital services at the end-of-life, palliative care should be initiated early enough in order to have sufficient time to initiate and carry out good quality advance care planning (ACP). This single center study assesses the impact of the PC decision and its timing on the use of hospital services at EOL and the place of death. Methods A randomly chosen cohort of 992 cancer patients treated in a tertiary hospital between Jan 2013 -Dec 2014, who were deceased by the end of 2014, were selected from the total number of 2737 identified from the hospital database. The PC decision (the decision to terminate life-prolonging anticancer treatments and focus on symptom centered palliative care) and use of PC unit services were studied in relation to emergency department (ED) visits, hospital inpatient days and place of death. Results A PC decision was defined for 82% of the patients and 37% visited a PC unit. The earlier the PC decision was made, the more often patients had an appointment at the PC unit (> 180 days prior to death 72% and <14 days 10%). The number of ED visits and inpatient days were highest for patients with no PC decision and lowest for patients with both a PC decision and an PC unit appointment (60 days before death ED visits 1.3 vs 0.8 and inpatient days 9.9 vs 2.9 respectively, p <0.01). Patients with no PC decision died more often in secondary/tertiary hospitals (28% vs. 19% with a PC decision, and 6% with a decision and an appointment to a PC unit). Conclusions The PC decision to initiate a palliative goal for the treatment had a distinct impact on the use of hospital services at the EOL. Contact with a PC unit further increased the likelihood of EOL care at primary care.
  • Hirvonen, Outi M; Leskelä, Riikka-Leena; Grönholm, Lotta; Haltia, Olli; Voltti, Samuli; Tyynelä-Korhonen, Kristiina; Rahko, Eeva K; Lehto, Juho T; Saarto, Tiina (BioMed Central, 2020)
    Abstract Background In order to avoid unnecessary use of hospital services at the end-of-life, palliative care should be initiated early enough in order to have sufficient time to initiate and carry out good quality advance care planning (ACP). This single center study assesses the impact of the PC decision and its timing on the use of hospital services at EOL and the place of death. Methods A randomly chosen cohort of 992 cancer patients treated in a tertiary hospital between Jan 2013 –Dec 2014, who were deceased by the end of 2014, were selected from the total number of 2737 identified from the hospital database. The PC decision (the decision to terminate life-prolonging anticancer treatments and focus on symptom centered palliative care) and use of PC unit services were studied in relation to emergency department (ED) visits, hospital inpatient days and place of death. Results A PC decision was defined for 82% of the patients and 37% visited a PC unit. The earlier the PC decision was made, the more often patients had an appointment at the PC unit (> 180 days prior to death 72% and < 14 days 10%). The number of ED visits and inpatient days were highest for patients with no PC decision and lowest for patients with both a PC decision and an PC unit appointment (60 days before death ED visits 1.3 vs 0.8 and inpatient days 9.9 vs 2.9 respectively, p < 0.01). Patients with no PC decision died more often in secondary/tertiary hospitals (28% vs. 19% with a PC decision, and 6% with a decision and an appointment to a PC unit). Conclusions The PC decision to initiate a palliative goal for the treatment had a distinct impact on the use of hospital services at the EOL. Contact with a PC unit further increased the likelihood of EOL care at primary care.
  • Kankaanpää, Meri; Raitakari, Maria; Muukkonen, Leila; Gustafsson, Siv; Heitto, Merja; Palomäki, Ari; Suojanen, Kimmo; Harjola, Veli-Pekka (BioMed Central, 2016)
    Abstract Background To assess whether the use of point-of-care testing (POCT) and early assessment team (EAT) model shortens emergency department (ED) length of stay (LOS). Methods This prospective, observational study with comparison between three study periods was performed in three phases in a metropolitan ED with 57,000 annual visits. Data were collected from adult ambulatory patients who were discharged home. Phase 1 served as a control (n = 1559 in one month). In phase 2, a comprehensive POCT panel including complete blood count, sodium, potassium, glucose, C-reactive protein, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, bilirubin, amylase, and D-dimer was launched (n = 1442 in one month). In phase 3 (n = 3356 in subsequent two months), POCT approach continued. In addition, the working process was changed by establishing an EAT consisting of an emergency medicine resident and a nurse. The team operated from 12 noon to 10 p.m. was. The primary outcome was LOS (hh:mm) in the ED. Waiting times for patients requiring laboratory testing were analysed also, including time from admission to laboratory blood sampling (A2S interval), time from blood sampling to results ready (S2R interval) and time from results to discharge (R2D interval). Results Median LOS of patients requiring laboratory tests in phase 1 was 3:51 (95 % confidence interval 03:38–04:04). During phase 2, introduction of POCT reduced median LOS by 29 min to 03:22 (03:12–03:31, p = 0.000). In phase 3, the EAT model reduced median LOS further by 17 min to 03:05 (02:59–03:12, p = 0.033). Altogether, the process was expedited by 46 min compared with the phase 1. Surprisingly, A2S interval was unaffected by the interventions among all patients needing laboratory testing. In comparison to phase 1, shortening of S2R interval was observed in phase 2 and 3, and that of R2D interval in all patients with laboratory assessments in phase 3. Discussion The present study included adult ambulatory patients and is the first one to examine the impact of comprehensive POC test panel, first alone and then with additional process change. As a result, LOS was reduced significantly for patients needing laboratory tests. Considerable shortening in LOS came from introduction of POCT, and EAT process decreased the LOS further. We used a comprehensive POC test panel in order to maximise the patient population benefiting from the positive impacts of POC on laboratory turnaround time and length of stay. In EAT, diverse setups exist, and these differences affect the interpretation of results. The process changes in phase 3 were done by rearranging work shifts and no extra resources were added. Regarding to staffing the process improvement was thus cost neutral. Conclusions The advantage of POCT alone compared with central laboratory seemed to lie in shorter waiting times for results and earlier discharge home. Moreover, POCT and EAT model shorten LOS additively compared with conventional processes. However, a longer time is seemingly needed to adopt a new working process in the ED, and to establish its full benefit.
  • Kankaanpää, Meri; Raitakari, Maria; Muukkonen, Leila; Gustafsson, Siv; Heitto, Merja; Palomäki, Ari; Suojanen, Kimmo; Harjola, Veli-Pekka (2016)
    Background: To assess whether the use of point-of-care testing (POCT) and early assessment team (EAT) model shortens emergency department (ED) length of stay (LOS). Methods: This prospective, observational study with comparison between three study periods was performed in three phases in a metropolitan ED with 57,000 annual visits. Data were collected from adult ambulatory patients who were discharged home. Phase 1 served as a control (n = 1559 in one month). In phase 2, a comprehensive POCT panel including complete blood count, sodium, potassium, glucose, C-reactive protein, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, bilirubin, amylase, and D-dimer was launched (n = 1442 in one month). In phase 3 (n = 3356 in subsequent two months), POCT approach continued. In addition, the working process was changed by establishing an EAT consisting of an emergency medicine resident and a nurse. The team operated from 12 noon to 10 p.m. was. The primary outcome was LOS (hh: mm) in the ED. Waiting times for patients requiring laboratory testing were analysed also, including time from admission to laboratory blood sampling (A2S interval), time from blood sampling to results ready (S2R interval) and time from results to discharge (R2D interval). Results: Median LOS of patients requiring laboratory tests in phase 1 was 3:51 (95 % confidence interval 03:38-04:04). During phase 2, introduction of POCT reduced median LOS by 29 min to 03: 22 (03:12-03:31, p = 0.000). In phase 3, the EAT model reduced median LOS further by 17 min to 03:05 (02: 59-03:12, p = 0.033). Altogether, the process was expedited by 46 min compared with the phase 1. Surprisingly, A2S interval was unaffected by the interventions among all patients needing laboratory testing. In comparison to phase 1, shortening of S2R interval was observed in phase 2 and 3, and that of R2D interval in all patients with laboratory assessments in phase 3. Discussion: The present study included adult ambulatory patients and is the first one to examine the impact of comprehensive POC test panel, first alone and then with additional process change. As a result, LOS was reduced significantly for patients needing laboratory tests. Considerable shortening in LOS came from introduction of POCT, and EAT process decreased the LOS further. We used a comprehensive POC test panel in order to maximise the patient population benefiting from the positive impacts of POC on laboratory turnaround time and length of stay. In EAT, diverse setups exist, and these differences affect the interpretation of results. The process changes in phase 3 were done by rearranging work shifts and no extra resources were added. Regarding to staffing the process improvement was thus cost neutral. Conclusions: The advantage of POCT alone compared with central laboratory seemed to lie in shorter waiting times for results and earlier discharge home. Moreover, POCT and EAT model shorten LOS additively compared with conventional processes. However, a longer time is seemingly needed to adopt a new working process in the ED, and to establish its full benefit.
  • Oulasvirta, Jelena; Harve-Rytsälä, Heini; Lääperi, Mitja; Kuisma, Markku; Salmi, Heli (BioMed Central, 2021)
    Abstract Background The challenges encountered in emergency medical services (EMS) contacts with children are likely most pronounced in infants, but little is known about their out-of-hospital care. Our primary aim was to describe the characteristics of EMS contacts with infants. The secondary aims were to examine the symptom-based dispatch system for nonverbal infants, and to observe the association of unfavorable patient outcomes with patient and EMS mission characteristics. Methods In a population-based 5-year retrospective cohort of all 1712 EMS responses for infants (age < 1 year) in Helsinki, Finland (population 643,000, < 1-year old population 6548), we studied 1) the characteristics of EMS missions with infants; 2) mortality within 12 months; 3) pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admissions; 4) medical state of the infant upon presentation to the emergency department (ED); 5) any medication or respiratory support given at the ED; 6) hospitalization; and 7) surgical procedures during the same hospital visit. Results 1712 infants with a median age of 6.7 months were encountered, comprising 0.4% of all EMS missions. The most common complaints were dyspnea, low-energy falls, and choking. Two infants died on-scene. The EMS transported 683 (39.9%) infants. One (0.1%) infant died during the 12-month follow-up period. Ninety-one infants had abnormal clinical examination upon arrival at the ED. PICU admissions (n = 28) were associated with young age (P < 0.01), a history of prematurity or problems in the neonatal period (P = 0.01), and previous EMS contacts within 72 h (P = 0.04). The adult-derived dispatch codes did not associate with the final diagnoses of the infants. Conclusions Infants form a small but distinct group in pediatric EMS care, with specific characteristics differing from the overall pediatric population. Many EMS contacts with infants were nonurgent or medically unjustified, possibly reflecting an unmet need for other family services. The use of adult-derived symptom codes for dispatching is not optimal for infants. Unfavorable patient outcomes were rare. Risk factors for such outcomes include quickly renewed contacts, young age and health problems in the neonatal period.
  • Oulasvirta, Jelena; Harve-Rytsälä, Heini; Lääperi, Mitja; Kuisma, Markku; Salmi, Heli (2021)
    BackgroundThe challenges encountered in emergency medical services (EMS) contacts with children are likely most pronounced in infants, but little is known about their out-of-hospital care. Our primary aim was to describe the characteristics of EMS contacts with infants. The secondary aims were to examine the symptom-based dispatch system for nonverbal infants, and to observe the association of unfavorable patient outcomes with patient and EMS mission characteristics.MethodsIn a population-based 5-year retrospective cohort of all 1712 EMS responses for infants (age