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Original Article

Med Arch. 2023; 77(4): 268-275

Factors Affecting Length of Stay in Pediatric Emergency Department in a Teaching Hospital in Saudi Arabia

Abdullah A. Yousef, Mohammed H. Al Qahtani, Abdullah K. Al-Mutairi, Faisal O. AlQurashi, Reem S. AlOmar, Nouf A. AlShamlan, Malak A. Al Shammari, Hannen A. Yousef.


Background: Decreasing the number of Emergency Department patient visits for treatment, especially in non-urgent cases, is an international healthcare goal. The same applies for pediatric emergency rooms where the utilization of ED is much more than adults. Objective: We aim to measure the length of stay for all pediatric patients and examine the factors influencing it. Methods: A retrospective chart review study was conducted at the pediatric ED of King Fahd Hospital in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The study included all patients presented to the pediatric ED, between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018, aged from 1 day to < 14 years old. Data included patient’s age, sex, season in which the patient presented in, chief complaint, time of presentation, and whether admission to the hospital ward was collected. Results: The total number of patients was 37,613. The median LOS was 100, interquartile range (IQR) = 53 – 272 minutes. Male pediatric patients were (55.12%). Among all patients, (32.04%) were toddlers, followed by school aged children (25.05%). The ER received more patients during the winter months followed by summer (32.92% and 24.72%, respectively). Fever was the most common complaint for all patients combined. For prolonged LOS patients, the most common complaints were respiratory related (23.44%). Pre-school children and school aged children were found to have a 5.49% and a 7.93% increased LOS when compared to toddlers (95% CI = 2.52 – 8.53, and 95% CI = 5.01 – 10.93, respectively). Summer was associated with a statistically significant increased LOS (% change = 28.92, 95% CI = 25.53 – 32.40). Morning shift was found to have a 7.89% increased LOS when compared to the evening shift. The highest increase in LOS was attributed to haematology related complaints (% change = 108.32, 95% CI = 85.69 – 133.71). Conclusion: Several pediatric LOS predicting factors have been identified; morning arrival, and presentation during summertime. Systemic factors such as staffing, and infrastructure can be modified and may affect the length of stay of patients. The implementation of these strategies and the evaluation of their impact on the length of stay in the pediatric emergency department require further investigation.

Key words: Emergency Department, Pediatrics, Length of Stay, Outpatient Care, Ambulatory Care.

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