Predictors of Recurrent High Emergency Department Use among Patients with Mental Disorders

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 25;18(9):4559. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18094559.


Few studies have examined predictors of recurrent high ED use. This study assessed predictors of recurrent high ED use over two and three consecutive years, compared with high one-year ED use. This five-year longitudinal study is based on a cohort of 3121 patients who visited one of six Quebec (Canada) ED at least three times in 2014-2015. Multinomial logistic regression was performed. Clinical, sociodemographic and service use variables were identified based on data extracted from health administrative databases for 2012-2013 to 2014-2015. Of the 3121 high ED users, 15% (n = 468) were recurrent high ED users for a two-year period and 12% (n = 364) over three years. Patients with three consecutive years of high ED use had more personality disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol or drug related disorders, chronic physical illnesses, suicidal behaviors and violence or social issues. More resided in areas with high social deprivation, consulted frequently with psychiatrists, had more interventions in local community health service centers, more prior hospitalizations and lower continuity of medical care. Three consecutive years of high ED use may be a benchmark for identifying high users needing better ambulatory care. As most have multiple and complex health problems, higher continuity and adequacy of medical care should be prioritized.

Keywords: emergency department; high users; mental disorders; predictors; recurrent high users.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Quebec / epidemiology

Grant support