Table 1

Baseline characteristics of enrolled patients and system factors related to their ED visit

Patient characteristicNn (%)*
Age (years), median (IQR)13674.34 (1.50–10.57)
Female sex1367676 (49.5)
First language of both parents is neither French nor English†136760 (4.4)
Both parents immigrated in the previous 5 years†135872 (5.3)
Use of prescription medication prior to ED visit1367309 (22.6)
Chronic medical condition1365285 (20.9)
Indwelling line, or indwelling urinary catheter, or dialysis catheter or respiratory support needed136726 (1.9)
Pediatric Canadian Triage Acuity Score1367
 1 – Resuscitation4 (0.3)
 2 – Emergent84 (6.1)
 3 – Urgent691 (50.5)
 4 – Semiurgent495 (36.2)
 5 – Non-urgent93 (6.8)
Presenting complaint (top 5)1367
 Fever207 (15.1)
 Cough/congestion135 (9.9)
 Difficulty breathing/SOB108 (7.9)
 Upper extremity injury92 (6.7)
 Abdominal pain72 (5.3)
Mental health presentation136729 (2.2)
Arrival by ambulance136757 (4.2)
 Discharged1281 (93.7)
 Admitted68 (5.0)
 Left without being seen15 (1.1)
 Left against medical advice3 (0.2)
System factors N n (%)*
Location in the ED1367
 Acute care area337 (24.7)
 Ambulatory/minor treatment area1030 (75.3)
Time of presentation1367
 Day (08:00 to 15:59)681 (49.8)
 Evening (16:00 to 23:59)628 (45.9)
 Night (12:00 to 07:59)58 (4.2)
Weekday presentation (Monday to Friday)1367948 (69.3)
Wait time to MD assessment (hours), median IQR13441.5 (0.9–2.1)
Length of stay in the ED (time of triage to time of discharge OR time of admission to floor, hours), median (IQR)13642.6 (1.9–3.8)
Number of patients waiting to be seen when triaged, median (IQR)‡136713 (9–19)
Number of patients awaiting inpatient beds at time of registration‡1367
 0157 (11.5)
 1389 (28.5)
 2374 (27.4)
 3 or more447 (32.7)
ED census at time of registration, median (IQR)‡136731 (22–38)
Involvement of subspecialty consulting services§136766 (4.8)
First ED-specific services assessment by staff ED physician¶1341542 (40.4)
Number of ED staff physicians involved in patient care¶1341
 0**9 (0.7)
 11258 (93.8)
 271 (5.3)
 3 or more3 (0.2)
  • *Unless otherwise indicated.

  • †Or of sole parent as appropriate to child’s circumstances.

  • ‡For pragmatic reasons, we measured these variables at the midpoint of the hour for each shift (eg, 08:30, 09:30, 10:30) and used for each patient the midpoint of the hour that they were triaged (eg, for a patient triaged at 09:20, we used data collected at 9:30). Triage occurred before registration.

  • §N includes patients for whom the ED-specific staff requested a subspecialty service consultation (n=55) and those who were seen directly by subspecialty service at the time of their presentation to the ED (n=11).

  • ¶N reflects the 1341 patients who were seen first by ED-specific services (rather than directly by a subspecialty service).

  • **Represents mental health crisis workers (under the auspices of ED-specific services) directly caring for patients.

  • ED, emergency department; SOB, shortness of breath.