Health Overhaul Hospital Bailouts

Most patients spent 7.4 hours or less in emergency, new Canadian data suggests. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

Children under age five went to emergency slightly more frequently than Canadians of other age groups last year, the Canadian Institute for Health Information says.

The institute’s new quick stats, "Emergency Department Trends, 2012-2013," also looks at how long people spent in emergency based on factors age group, type and severity of condition.

Highlights include:

  • Preschoolers were the most frequent visitors, accounting for 8.7 per cent of total visits to emergency departments. Adults aged 20 to 24 accounted for 7.6 per cent. About 4.5 per cent of visits were by those aged 65 to 69.
  • The top three reasons people went to emergency were abdominal/pelvic pain (94 per cent discharged), pain in throat and chest (95 per cent discharged), and acute upper respiratory infection (99 per cent discharged.)
  • After adjusting for age, nine out of 10 patients spent 7.4 hours or less in emergency. 
  • More than half of emergency department patients were in the top three of five levels of severity based on their presenting signs and symptoms.
  • Visits to large and teaching hospitals, which treat a higher volume of complex cases, tended to be longer than those in small and medium-sized hospitals.

The database includes more than 10 million emergency department visits to participating facilities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon, representing about 59 per cent of all such visits in the country.