Characteristics of Patients Attending the Emergency Department at the Tripoli Medical Centre
Studying the characteristics of patients attending an emergency department is important in understanding the issues faced by emergency departments (EDs). Due to the weaknesses in the existing data acquisition in the ED of Tripoli Medical Centre (TMC), there is a need for this kind of study to appreciate the problems affecting ED services. This is a descriptive study of TMC to provide an overview of the ED environment and a description of patient characteristics. ED environment and Patient (adult) features were assessed via the number of patients admitted in a particular time frame, their characteristics (age, gender, nationality and severity), referral and discharge patterns, arrival process, patients waiting time and ED capacity. This study found that during May 2012, 7,100 patients visited the TMC ED, with the peak time for visits found to be between 10:00 and 19:00 hours. 75% of the cases were found to be non-urgent and minor. The vast majority, amounting to 83%, visited the TMC ED without a healthcare professional advice. In addition, 57% were discharged, whilst 25% were subsequently sent to urgent areas. This study concluded there was an inadequacy in terms of the number of beds; Moreover, the waiting time of patients was found to surpass those detailed in the recommended guidelines. Further studies are required to improve systems and service levels within the TMC.
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