Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Characteristics of Emergency Department Visits in a Tertiary Care Children’s Hospital in Türkiye: Descriptive Study

Şık N., Ölmez Z., Yılmaz D., Duman M.

Türkiye Klinikleri Pediatri Dergisi, vol.31, no.2, pp.85-92, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


Objective: To reveal how the coronavirus disease2019 pandemic has affected the characteristics of patient visits by comparing profiles in a pediatric emergency department (ED). Material and Methods: The period between March 11, 2020, and June 1, 2020, and the same timeframe in 2019 were retrospectively evaluated. For each day, the total number of ED visits was calculated. Patient gender, age, time of ED visit, triage priority, arrival characteristics, diagnostic codes, and hospital admissions for each day’s visits were recorded and the proportion was calculated for each parameter. Results: During the study period, ED visits declined by 80.8% in comparison to the previous year. In terms of diagnoses, in 2020, there was a decrease in the mean daily number and proportion of patients diagnosed with infectious diseases (p<0.05). In terms of traumatic injuries, there was a decrease in the number of visits in 2020, but the overall rate had increased, being 14.7% in 2019 and 18.4% in 2020. There was a decrease in the rate of visitors with green codes (p<0.001), but there was an increase in yellow codes (p<0.001) and no difference in red codes (p= 0.980). The proportion of hospitalizations also increased while the total number declined (p<0.05). Conclusion: During the pandemic period, our pediatric ED experienced a significantly decreased volume of visitors presenting with low-acuity conditions. Understanding the frequency and distribution of ED visits can help shape public health preparedness policies such as healthcare planning to ensure the availability of resources.