Patterns of paediatric emergency admissions and predictors of prolonged hospital stay at the children emergency room, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria
Background: There is a high prevalence of paediatric emergency cases in less developed countries. However, prolonged hospital stay at emergency units may further overstretch the facilities.
Objective: To assess the patterns of presentations, services offered and predictors of a prolonged stay at the Children Emergency Room of a tertiary hospital in Southern Nigeria.
Methods: This prospective cross-sectional, study was conducted at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Nigeria from 1st January–31st December 2014. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of consecutively recruited children (n=633) were recorded in a
proforma. Binary logistic regression was conducted to determine predictors of prolonged stay (>72 hours)
Result: The median age of participants was 2 (1 - 4.6) years. Three-fifths of children were admitted at off-hours and the commonest symptom was fever (73.9%). About 16.4% (95%CI:13.6% - 19.4%, n= 103/633) of the children had prolonged stay while those with sepsis had the longest mean stay (65.5±72.1 hours). Children admitted on account of Sickle cell disease (OR:11.2, 95%CI:1.3-95.1, P-value = 0.03), Malaria (OR:10.7, 95%CI:1.4-82.5, P-value = 0.02) or sepsis (OR:10.5, 95%CI:1.3 - 82.7, P-value = 0.03) had higher odds of prolonged hospital stay. There was no significant difference in hospital stay among children admitted by the consultant as compared to other health personnel (P-value = 0.08).
Conclusion: Prevention and proper management of Sickle cell disease and malaria reduces paediatric hospital stay in our environment. Paediatric emergency medicine should be re-organized to cater for high volume of off-hour admissions.
Keywords: Paediatric emergency, paediatric emergency admissions, predictors of prolonged stay, children emergency unit.