Uncompleted emergency department care and discharge against medical advice in patients with neurological complaints: a chart review [post]

2019 unpublished
Uncompleted emergency department care and against-medical-advice discharge represent relevant medical problems with impact on patient safety and potential medicolegal and socioeconomic consequences. They may also indicate structural or procedural problems in the emergency department (ED) relating to patient management and flow. While patients with neurological complaints frequently leave the ED against medical advice or without being seen, no dedicated analysis of this group of patients aiming
more » ... t the identification of characteristics associated with irregular ED discharge has been performed so far. Methods: A chart review was performed of all patients with neurological complaints presenting to a German interdisciplinary emergency department between January and December 2017 for neurological evaluation. Demographics, mode of presentation, process times, presenting symptoms and diagnosis were recorded. Patients leaving against medical advice after an informed consent discussion and signing of documentation (DAMA) or leaving prematurely without notifying ED staff (PL) were compared to the total of patients who were admitted or discharged (non-DAMA/PL). Results: Of all patients presenting with neurological symptoms or complaints, 3% left against medical advice and 2.2% left prematurely DAMA/PL patients were younger (p<.001), and they were more frequently self-presenting (p<0.001). Headaches, seizures and sensory deficits were the most frequent presenting symptoms in DAMA/PL patients, and 56.1% of those presenting with a seizure had a history of epilepsy. The most common documented reason for leaving was the duration of door-to-doctor time. Conclusions: Younger age, self-presenting mode of presentation and presentation with headache, seizures or sensory deficits are associated with premature leave or against-medical-advice discharge of patients with neurological complaints from the ED, and long waiting times were given as the major reason for leaving the ED. Increasing ED staff's awareness of
doi:10.21203/rs.2.9965/v5 fatcat:442rbbvqpfedjcs2snxukgx5ym