Navigation Links
ER Docs Frustrated, Burned Out by Repeat Patients: Survey
Date:6/10/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Americans who routinely turn to hospital emergency departments for non-urgent primary care are a big source of frustration and stress for the doctors who run those facilities, a new national survey reveals.

Roughly 90 percent of ER doctors polled said that the frequent draining of emergency resources and staff to manage chronic medical and social issues is a problem and a challenge.

"What we found is that emergency department doctors recognize that this is a problem and are asking for help," said study author Jennifer Peltzer-Jones, a clinical psychologist and registered nurse in the department of emergency medicine at Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit. In some cases, patients are coming back 20, 30 or 40 times a year, she added.

"Most, 97 percent, of physicians stated that they have frequent users," she said. "So, this is a national problem."

While more than two-thirds said that hospital administrators need to implement programs to manage the problem, fewer than one-third said their hospitals had actually done so.

The result: a drop in empathy for frequent-use patients, coupled with a rise in physician burnout.

The researchers, who defined frequent ER users as those seeking emergency room care 10 or more times a year, presented their findings recently at a meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

A lack of medical insurance is not always the prime motivation for seeking care in an ER setting, the researchers found. Frequent users, they said, often struggle with a chronic medical condition while lacking easy access to a primary care doctor or specialist. In some cases, homelessness and lack of transportation resources play a role. Substance abuse and psychiatric illness were also cited.

Between July and October 2010, the researchers polled 1,000 members of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and 500 hospital physician residents, staff members and former employees. More than a quarter (representing ER staff in all states except for Alaska) responded.

Eighty-two percent said they felt some degree of burnout as a result of trying to cope with the inappropriate frequent use of their ER.

Aspects of burnout included feeling emotionally exhausted, treating patients with an increasingly depersonalized eye, and/or a plummeting sense of personal accomplishment on the job.

Being an "experienced" ER physician did not appear to protect physicians from the threat of burnout, the survey indicated.

Nearly six in 10 ER doctors said they felt less empathy for frequent ER users than for those seeking appropriate urgent care. About three-quarters said they bore a bias against such frequent users.

The survey did not address how lack of empathy might affect quality of care, Peltzer-Jones noted.

"If we don't want our health-care providers to burn out, I think hospitals really have a responsibility to help them and provide some kind of program for these patients," she added. "Because at a minimum, it is having an effect on staff."

Dr. Marshall Morgan, chief of emergency medicine at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, said he was not surprised by the poll results.

"Frequent use patients tend to have problems that can't be managed well in an emergency department," he said. "Some lack insurance, and so they have problems that need to be addressed but can't set themselves up with a continuity doctor because they can't afford it. Others have chronic pain problems and come in looking for relief, and often have developed a dependence on pain medication, particularly narcotics. And this makes ER doctors particularly crazy and frustrated. Which is understandable."

"Managing these patients better can not only make your staff happier, but it can also pay off in the long run," Morgan said. "Because they take up a lot of staff time, and are a huge cost to a hospital that will often not get reimbursed. But I don't know of very many places that have done an effective job at coping with the problem."

Because the research was presented in a meeting, the findings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

For more on ERs and non-urgent care, visit the Careforall.net.

SOURCES: Jennifer Peltzer-Jones, Psy.D., R.N., clinical psychologist, department of emergency medicine, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit; Marshall Morgan, M.D., chief, emergency medicine, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles; June 1-5, 2011, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine meeting, Boston


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. YAS-A-THON for ThinkCure Hits it Out of the Park: $140,000 Raised, 270,000 Calories Burned!
2. University of Pennsylvania: Contrary to popular models, sugar is not burned by self-control tasks
3. FDA CONSUMER HEALTH INFORMATION - Dont Get Burned: Stay Away From Ear Candles
4. Repeated stress in pregnancy linked to childrens behavior
5. Bad Times May Seem Worse If You Expect to Repeat Them
6. Repeat MRI screening for breast cancer results in fewer false positives
7. Studies show everolimus-eluting stent implantation reduces restenosis and repeat revasculariztion
8. Interventions to promote repeat breast cancer screening with mammography
9. Intrauterine devices reduce repeat abortions
10. Moving repeatedly in childhood linked with poorer quality-of-life years later
11. Challenging the use of routine repeated chest X-rays in certain patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
ER Docs Frustrated, Burned Out by Repeat Patients: Survey
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) ... by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. The group, which is being ... and other caregivers the opportunity to share stories and advice, seek help, and continue ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... California, will be included in the 2016 “Guide to America’s Top Plastic Surgeons” ... on the amalgamation of their education, experience, and professional associations. , One ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Universal Medical Systems, Inc. (UMS) ... first company to offer robotic imaging to veterinary medicine is sponsoring the appearance ... for the American Association of Equine Practitioners 62nd Annual Convention from December 4-6, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... care journeys, announced today that it has raised $6.0 million in an initial ... by Clarify Health’s conviction that patients and their caregivers can receive far better ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... The Fertility Centers of ... a Cigna Infertility Center of Excellence. The Cigna Center of Excellence recognizes participating ... honor to be designated a Cigna Infertility Center of Excellence," said Fertility Centers ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 2, 2016  The Addiction ... the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), has ... can better address the opioid addiction crisis, including ... Therapies (MAT). ATAG,s newly released paper, ... Access to Naloxone," addresses many issues around gaps ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... -- CVS Health Corporation (NYSE: CVS ) ... December 15, 2016, beginning at 8:00 a.m. (ET). Senior members ... in-depth review of the company,s strategies to drive long-term ... discuss 2017 earnings guidance during the event. ... be broadcast simultaneously on the Investor Relations portion of ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... JUNCTION, N.J. , Dec. 2, 2016   ... care immunotherapy leader commercializing its European Union approved ... critically-ill and cardiac surgery patients worldwide, announced that Dr. ... at the 9th Annual LD Micro Main Event ... th , 2016 at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: