An intervention aimed at reducing the number of frequent attendances to hospital emergency departments

Jane George1, Lynne Briggs2

1West Coast District Health Board, Grey Hospital, PO Box 387, Greymouth, New Zealand
2Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia


A Health and Wellbeing Connection pilot study was undertaken by Richmond Services in partnership with Pegasus Health, Partnership Health, and the Canterbury District Health Board.


The aim of this study was evaluate an intervention program offered that assisted reduction of the number of frequent attenders to the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital.


The K10 Depression and Anxiety scale and the World Health Organization Quality of Life measure (WHOQOL) were administered to 105 people attending the Emergency Department repeated for the 53 participants who completed the intervention program.  Attendance rates at the Emergency Department and general practice were also recorded.


The majority of the participants who completed the program had reduced their attendance at the Emergency Department significantly and all reported a decrease in psychological distress and an increase in their quality of life. There was no real change in their attendance rates at general practice centres.


While the number of participants in this study does not allow for robust analysis of efficacy it does indicate that there is merit in continuing to develop brief intervention case management models to support behaviour change programs for frequent attenders to Emergency Departments.


Jane George is Associate Director of Allied Health for the West Coast District Health Board.  She is a registered Social Worker, and has practiced in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.  Her research interests are centred on improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations in rural settings.  A primary goal is the use of strengths based leadership strategies to support staff to use innovation in response to change.  Jane is a Member of the Australasian College of Health Management, the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (MANZASW) and Health Informatics New Zealand (HINZ).

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