Background The aim was to study the characteristics and management of children visiting the emergency department (ED) during out-of-office hours. Methods We analysed electronic health record data from 119 204 children visiting one of five EDs in four European countries. Patient characteristics and management (diagnostic tests, treatment, hospital admission and paediatric intensive care unit admission) were compared between children visiting during office hours and evening shifts, night shifts and weekend day shifts. Analyses were corrected for age, gender, Manchester Triage System urgency, abnormal vital signs, presenting problems and hospital. Results Patients presenting at night were younger (median (IQR) age: 3.7 (1.4–8.2) years vs 4.8 (1.8–9.9)), more often classified as high urgent (16.3% vs 9.9%) and more often had ≥2 abnormal vital signs (22.8% vs 18.1%) compared with office hours. After correcting for disease severity, laboratory and radiological tests were less likely to be requested (adjusted OR (aOR): 0.82, 95% CI 0.78– 0.86 and aOR: 0.64, 95% CI 0.60–0.67, respectively); treatment was more likely to be undertaken (aOR: 1.56, 95% CI 1.49–1.63) and patients were more likely to be admitted to the hospital (aOR: 1.32, 95% CI 1.24–1.41) at night. Patterns in management during out-of-office hours were comparable between the different hospitals, with variability remaining. Conclusions Children visiting during the night are relatively more seriously ill, highlighting the need to keep improving emergency care on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Further research is needed to explain the differences in management during the night and how these differences affect patient outcomes.

dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjpo-2020-000687, hdl.handle.net/1765/133781
BMJ Paediatrics Open
Department of Public Health

Schinkelshoek, G., Borensztajn, D.M., Zachariasse, J.M., Maconochie, IK, Alves, C.F, Freitas, P., … Moll, H.A. (2020). Management of children visiting the emergency department during out-of-office hours: An observational study. BMJ Paediatrics Open, 4(1). doi:10.1136/bmjpo-2020-000687