Background: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSKDs) are the most common class of complaints among patients presenting for care in the Emergency Department (ED). There is a non-urgent patient population with musculoskeletal complaints attending ED services that creates a burgeoning waiting list and contributes to overcrowding in Emergency Departments (EDs), which is a major concern worldwide. The recent (Coronavirus disease-19) COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge that is revealing the structural and situational strengths and weaknesses of healthcare systems. Methods: This study retrospectively and prospectively assessed patients presenting to the Emergency Department before and after the COVID-19 outbreak (from 21 February 2019 to 3 May 2019 and from 21 February 2020 to 3 May 2020) with non-traumatic or low-severity musculoskeletal conditions to test the hypothesis that these patients should have access to care outside the ED and that the COVID-19 outbreak has changed patients' care and health perception. Results: A total of 613 patients were identified, and 542 of them (87.56%) participated in a personalized survey. From this number, 81.73% of the total accesses took place in 2019, and only 18.27% of the accesses took place during the first outbreak and lockdown. More than 90% of patients admitted to the ED accessed care during the day shift in both periods. A total of 87.30% of patients presenting to the ED with a MSKD followed their general practitioner's (GP) advice/referral in 2019, and 73.87% did so in 2020. The differences in the means of transport to the ED was statistically significant (p-value 0.002). Conclusions: The outbreak and lockdown period confirmed that there is an inappropriate use of the ED related to patients with MSKD. However, the ED appears to be the only available solution for these patients. New services and pathways are therefore needed to enhance MSKD management and reduce ED crowding. Additional observational studies shall be developed to confirm and compare our findings with those of various EDs. The main limit of the inferential part of the study is probably due to the small sample of patients in 2020.

Patients with Musculoskeletal Disorders Presenting to the Emergency Department: The COVID-19 Lesson

Polizzi, Alberto;Annunziata, Salvatore;Klersy, Catherine;Dermenaki Farahani, Mohammad Reza;Ghiara, Matteo;Jannelli, Eugenio;Grassi, Federico;Mosconi, Mario
2022-01-01

Abstract

Background: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSKDs) are the most common class of complaints among patients presenting for care in the Emergency Department (ED). There is a non-urgent patient population with musculoskeletal complaints attending ED services that creates a burgeoning waiting list and contributes to overcrowding in Emergency Departments (EDs), which is a major concern worldwide. The recent (Coronavirus disease-19) COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge that is revealing the structural and situational strengths and weaknesses of healthcare systems. Methods: This study retrospectively and prospectively assessed patients presenting to the Emergency Department before and after the COVID-19 outbreak (from 21 February 2019 to 3 May 2019 and from 21 February 2020 to 3 May 2020) with non-traumatic or low-severity musculoskeletal conditions to test the hypothesis that these patients should have access to care outside the ED and that the COVID-19 outbreak has changed patients' care and health perception. Results: A total of 613 patients were identified, and 542 of them (87.56%) participated in a personalized survey. From this number, 81.73% of the total accesses took place in 2019, and only 18.27% of the accesses took place during the first outbreak and lockdown. More than 90% of patients admitted to the ED accessed care during the day shift in both periods. A total of 87.30% of patients presenting to the ED with a MSKD followed their general practitioner's (GP) advice/referral in 2019, and 73.87% did so in 2020. The differences in the means of transport to the ED was statistically significant (p-value 0.002). Conclusions: The outbreak and lockdown period confirmed that there is an inappropriate use of the ED related to patients with MSKD. However, the ED appears to be the only available solution for these patients. New services and pathways are therefore needed to enhance MSKD management and reduce ED crowding. Additional observational studies shall be developed to confirm and compare our findings with those of various EDs. The main limit of the inferential part of the study is probably due to the small sample of patients in 2020.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1461436
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