Objectives: To determine the frequency and characteristics of paediatric emergency department attendances associated with drug-related problems (DRP) at three Victorian hospitals.
Methods: All paediatric medical patients attending the emergency department of the Royal Children's Hospital, Geelong Hospital or Box Hill Hospital were considered for inclusion. The investigator and attending medical practitioners screened eligible patients. A multidisciplinary panel reviewed collated data. Causality, preventability and clinical significance classifications were established by the panel.
Results: Combining data from the three hospitals, over 18 weeks of data collection, a total of 8601 patients met the eligibility criteria. Of these, 280 (3.3%, 95% CI 2.9-3.7%) were determined to have emergency department attendances associated with DRP. Of the 187 cases assessed for preventability, 51.3% were judged to be preventable.
Conclusions: Emergency department attendances are associated with DRP in paediatrics. Given that the need to prevent DRP in adults is recognized, it is now time to act to reduce the consequences of DRP in paediatrics.