A profile of individuals accompanying patients in the emergency department: An analysis of 5046 cases
Background: There has been no comprehensive study on identifying the sociocultural characteristics and the factors affecting the number of relatives and/or friends accompanying patients. The purpose of this study was to identify these sociocultural characteristics and the factors affecting this.
Materials and Methods: The research was designed as a cross‑sectional, one‑to‑one interview study. A study population representing one in three patients aged over 18 years and presenting consecutively to the emergency department over a 1‑month period was constituted with systematic sampling. A sample size of at least 4483 patients was planned with a 1% margin of error and 90% power.
Results: Two thousand nine hundred and fifty (58.5%) of the 5046 patients included in the study were male. Patients’ mean age was 38.4 ± 17.4 years (median 34 years). At least one friend or relative accompanied 3690 (73.1%) patients, and the mean number of accompanying individuals was 1.50. A higher level of accompaniment and a higher mean number of accompanying individuals were determined in patients presenting to the emergency department outside working hours, with altered mental state, attending hospital for the first time, with chronic disease, requiring hospitalization, in illiterate patients, in patients who had not studied at university, in patients aged 65 or over, and in patients presenting to hospital and the emergency department for the first time compared to other parameters (<0.01 for all).
Conclusion: The number of people accompanying patients increases with sociocultural factors such as gender, age, literacy, and education level. In addition, similar increase can be observed with patients coming to emergency department by ambulance or having a chronic disease or arrive with lost consciousness.
Keywords: Accompanying patients, emergency department, individuals, profile