The objective of the present study is to determine the likelihood of injured or poisoned patients in special populations, such as those patients that are elderly and self-injurious, being seen within an emergency department’s triage nurse assigned urgency. Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (2007) was utilized in this study. Multi-level models and multivariate linear regression models were used; patient age, sex, reported pain levels, wait time, and injury type were examined as potential predictors of being seen within assigned urgency. From a random sample across all US Emergency Departments, 5616 patients nested in 312 hospital emergency departments were included into the study. Typically, approximately 1 in 5 emergency department patients were not seen within their triage nurse assigned urgencies. The typical patient in the average hospital had an 81% likelihood of being seen within their assigned urgency. P atients who were oldest [odds ratio (OR)=0.0990] and had self-inflicted injuries (vs assault OR=1.246 and OR=1.596) had the least likelihood to be seen within their assigned urgencies. As actual wait-time increased for patients, they were less likely to be seen within their assigned urgencies. The most powerful predictors of the study’s outcome were injury type and age, indicating that patients from special populations such as the elderly or those with injuries resulting from deliberate self-harm are less likely to be actually priority patients independent of triage nurse assigned urgencies.
emergency department wait time, injury type, triage assigned urgency