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Crowded A&Es deliver less effective pain relief for children

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Crowded emergency departments lead to less timely and effective use of pain medication for children, a US study has shown.

Research published in the journal of Academic Emergency Medicine looked at 1,229 patients treated in the emergency department of CU School of Medicine.

Crowding was seen to reduce the likelihood of giving timely treatment by 47% and the likelihood of delivering effective care by 17%.

Researchers said: “When the emergency department gets busier, staff may be less responsive to the needs of individual patients, and as a result, patients have a higher likelihood of non-treatment and delays in treatment.”

Previous studies have shown that crowded emergency rooms lead to lower levels of pain control among adult patients, but researchers have not previously looked at the effect in children.

The researchers conclude: ““Crowding is a serious issue for everyone. It is caused by a variety of things, from patients who too readily use emergency departments to federal policies that exacerbate the problem,” Sills said. “We as a nation need to get serious about this. Crowding needs to be a policy priority at every level.”

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