Table of Contents
ISRN Emergency Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 865861, 6 pages
Research Article

Demographic Changes and Their Implications in a Nonacademic Emergency Department in Switzerland: An 11-Year Trend Analysis (2000–2010) of 104,510 Patients

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Inselspital-Bern University Hospital, Freiburgstrasse, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
2Department of Surgery, Spitalzentrum Biel AG, 2502 Biel, Switzerland
3Department of Internal Medicine, Spital Altstätten, 9450 Altstätten, Switzerland
4Department of Surgery, Kantonsspital Graubünden, 7000 Chur, Switzerland
5Department of Emergency Medicine, Kantonsspital Graubünden, 7000 Chur, Switzerland

Received 25 March 2012; Accepted 26 April 2012

Academic Editors: O. Karcioglu and M. Mohsin

Copyright © 2012 Adrian P. Businger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Recent demographic developments outline a worldwide increase in the older population. The aim of the present study was to assess whether the sociodemographic characteristics of patients with emergency department (ED) admissions have changed over time. Methods. This study utilized the database of a level I accident and emergency unit in eastern Switzerland, a prospective database of consecutive patients aged ≥16 admitted between 2000 and 2010. Sociodemographic data were extracted as well as date and time of admission, instances of referral, diagnosis, time needed for ED treatment, and nursing effort. Results. Data from 104,510 patients were utilized. There was a significant increase in the percentage of patients aged ≥65 years (from 25.7 per cent (1,775/6,905) to 29.6 per cent (3,845/12,340); 𝑃 t r e n d < 0 . 0 1 ). The mean length of stay in the ED was significantly longer (from 140.3 minutes, SD 91.9 to 169.5 minutes, SD 101.1; 𝑃 t r e n d < 0 . 0 1 ) and the percentage of illness as the cause of admission was significantly higher over time (from 58.3 per cent to 59.4 per cent; 𝑃 t r e n d < 0 . 0 1 ). Conclusions. The change in patients’ demographics found and the resulting considerably increasing workload in EDs might be helpful for planning purposes, future training of ED personnel, and allocating resources.