Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 78-83

Evaluation of wait time in the children's emergency and outpatient units of a tertiary hospital in Southeast Nigeria

1 Department of Paediatrics, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria
2 Child Survival Unit, Medical Research Council UK, The Gambia Unit, Fajara, Gambia
3 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chidiebere D I. Osuorah
Child Survival Unit, Medical Research Council UK, The Gambia Unit, Fajara
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JETS.JETS_139_18

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Background: Promptness of intervention in the emergency room (ER) or outpatient unit is a major determinant of outcome in acutely ill children. Time is, therefore, of the essence in trying to reduce complications and mortality associated with children. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in the children ER and the children outpatient unit of the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH), Enugu, Southeast Nigeria. Waiting time defined as the time between arrival and doctor consultation was calculated. Results: A total of 248 respondents were enrolled during the study period. In the emergency unit, majority (67.5%) of the respondents' sick children were attended to almost immediately, while 13.3% and 19.3% waited for ≤10 and >10 min, respectively, before being attended to by a doctor. The mean waiting time in the emergency unit was approximately 9.27 ± 29.2 min (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.90–15.65 min) with a range of 0–56 min. In the outpatient unit, the mean waiting time was 12.67 ± 15.3 min (95% CI: 10.31–15.01 min) with a time range of 5–245 min. Eighty-five (51.5%) of the 165 respondents waited for <10 min, 60 (36.4%) waited for between 10 and 30 min, while 20 (12.1%) waited for >30 min before their sick children were attended by a doctor. Conclusion: The mean waiting times reported in this study in the emergency and outpatient units of the ESUTH were within acceptable standards. However, there were cases where the waiting time in both children's units was exceptionally long. There is need for continued monitoring and evaluation of waiting times in these units for prompt attention to patients.

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