Is language a barrier for quality care in hospitals? A case series from an Emergency Department of a teaching hospital in Brisbane

Mahmoud, Ibrahim and Hou, Xiang-Yu and Chu, Kevin and Clark, Michele (2011) Is language a barrier for quality care in hospitals? A case series from an Emergency Department of a teaching hospital in Brisbane. Australasian Epidemiologist, 18 (1). pp. 6-9. ISSN 1327-8835

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Aim: The aim of this pilot study is to describe the use of an Emergency Department (ED) at a large metropolitan teaching hospital by patients who speak English or other languages at home.

Methods: All data were retrieved from the Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) of this tertiary teaching hospital in Brisbane. Patients were divided into two groups based on the language spoken at home: patients who speak English only at home (SEO) and patients who do not speak English only or speak other language at home (NSEO). Modes of arrival, length of ED stay and the proportion of hospital admission were compared among the two groups of patients by using SPSS V18 software.

Results: A total of 69,494 patients visited this hospital ED in 2009 with 67,727 (97.5%) being in the SEO group and 1,281 (1.80%) in the NSEO group. The proportion of ambulance utilisation in arrival mode was significantly higher among SEO 23,172 (34.2%) than NSEO 397 (31.0%), p <0.05. The NSEO patients had longer length of stay in the ED (M = 337.21, SD = 285.9) compared to SEO patients (M= 290.9, SD = 266.8), with 46.3 minutes (95%CI 62.1, 30.5, p <0.001) difference. The admission to the hospital among NSEO was 402 (31.9%) higher than SEO 17,652 (26.6%), p <0.001.

Conclusion: The lower utilisation rates of ambulance services, longer length of ED stay and higher hospital admission rates in NSEO patients compared to SEO patients are consistent with other international studies and may be due to the language barriers.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No paper available.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2021 03:23
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2021 03:23
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111709 Health Care Administration
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110305 Emergency Medicine
Fields of Research (2020): 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320207 Emergency medicine
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420306 Health care administration

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