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Table 1 Patient characteristics

From: Self-referring patients at the emergency department: appropriateness of ED use and motives for self-referral

  Self-referrals (n = 3,028) Non-self-referrals (n = 1,975)
Age [mean (SD)] (years) 32.3 (18.6) 48.5 (22.1)
Age categories [n (%)] (years)   
      0 to 15 543 (17.9) 107 (5.4)
      16 to 35 1,310 (43.3) 512 (25.9)
      36 to 55 783 (25.9) 590 (29.9)
      56 to 75 343 (11.3) 501 (25.4)
      >75 49 (1.6) 265 (13.4)
Sex, male [n (%)] 1,636 (54.0) 951 (48.2)
Urgent acuity levela [n (%)] 1,174 (38.8) 1,281 (64.8)
No triage [n (%)] 151 (5.0) 123 (6.2)
Chief complaint [n (%)]   
      Limb problems 898 (29.7) 266 (13.5)
      Wounds and local infections and       abscesses 396 (13.1) 153 (7.7)
      Eye/ear/nose problems and sore       throat 216 (7.1) 33 (1.7)
      Headache and head injury 119 (3.9) 97 (4.9)
      Shortness of breath 85 (2.8) 141 (7.1)
      Abdominal pain 302 (10.0) 262 (13.3)
      Chest pain 203 (6.7) 191 (9.7)
      Patient feeling unwell 102 (3.4) 191 (9.7)
      Psychiatric problem 21 (0.7) 54 (2.7)
      Other 686 (22.7) 587 (29.7)
Injury [n (%)] 1,476 (48.7) 386 (19.5)
Time of registration during office hours [n (%)] 990 (32.7) 1,073 (54.3)
Diagnostic tests performedb [n (%)] 1,461 (48.2) 1,522 (77.1)
Follow-up care [n (%)]   
      Discharge without follow-up       appointment 1,363 (45.0) 396 (20.1)
      Hospital admission 207 (6.8) 667 (33.8)
      Discharge, appointment with       specialist care 822 (27.1) 704 (35.6)
      Left the ED without being seen       by a professional 37 (1.2) 24 (1.2)
      Referred to children's hospital 49 (1.6) 4 (0.2)
      Discharge, appointment with GP 550 (18.2) 180 (9.1)
Suffering from an extremity fracture 336 (11.1) 204 (10.3)
Needing hospital emergency carec 1,539 (50.8) 1,597 (80.9)
  1. SD, standard deviation. aUrgent, very urgent or immediate. bIncludes blood analysis, EKG, X-rays, CT-scan, MRI, ultrasound and lumbar puncture. cHospital admission and/or suffering from an extremity fracture and/or diagnostic tests performed. All differences in patient characteristics in relation to type of referral were significant at the p < 0.01 level, except for ‘no triage’ (p = 0.06), ‘left the ED without being seen (p = 0.98)’ and ‘suffering from an extremity fracture’ (p = 0.39).