Objectives: Describe the epidemiology of pediatric psychiatric-related visits to emergency departments participating in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of emergency department presentations for psychiatric-related visits (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes 290.0-314.90) for years 2003 to 2005 at 24 participating Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network hospitals. All patients who had psychiatric-related emergency department visits aged 19 years or younger were eligible. Age, sex, race, ethnicity, insurance status, mode of arrival, length of stay, and disposition were described for psychiatric-related visits and compared with non-psychiatric-related visits.
Results: Pediatric psychiatric-related visits accounted for 3.3% of all participating emergency department visits (84,973/2,580,299). Patients with psychiatric-related visits were older (mean ± SD age, 12.7 ± 3.9 years vs. 5.9 ± 5.6 years, P < 0.001), had a higher rate ambulance arrival (19.4% vs 8.2%, P < 0.0001), had a longer median length of stay (3.2 vs 2.1 hours, P < 0.0001), and had a higher rate of admission (30.5% vs 11.2%, P < 0.0001) when compared with non-psychiatric-related patient presentations. Older age, female sex, white race, ambulance arrival, and governmental insurance were factors independently associated with admission or transfer from the emergency department for psychiatric-related visits in multivariate regression analyses.
Conclusions: Pediatric psychiatric-related visits require more prehospital and emergency department resources and have higher admission/transfer rates than non-psychiatric-related visits within a large national pediatric emergency network.