Frequent Emergency Room Visits Signal Substance Abuse And Mental Illness

Jun 2004 |
Online Library
Washington State's Aged, Blind, & Disabled Clients

A cause for concern is the high rate of alcohol or drug (AOD) disorders and mental illness among aged, blind, and disabled fee-for-service clients who make frequent visits to the emergency room (ER): 1. 56 percent who visited the emergency room 31 times or more in fiscal year (FY) 2002 had diagnoses of both an AOD disorder and mental illness. 2. An additional 10 percent of the most frequent ER visitors had an AOD disorder only, while 23 percent had a mental illness disorder only. Only 11 percent had no indication of an AOD disorder or mental illness. Although they are less than one percent of the aged and disabled population, the 198 most frequent ER users had over 9,000 ER visits in FY 2002.

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