Introduction: Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regularly respond to lift assist calls. Previous studies have shown lift assist calls present a significant risk of morbidity and mortality. This group of callers is also likely to make repeated calls to 911 for EMS assistance. The ability to foresee which of these patients may need to call 911 again within 24 hours could help decrease the risk posed to patients in these situations.
Objectives: To 1) describe calls originating as lift assist calls with repeat calls within 24 hours, 2) explore the relationships for predictive ability of repeat 911 calls for the following: EMS scene time, patient initial and final vital signs, patient age, and gender.
Methods: This was a retrospective descriptive study using de-identified data from three emergency dispatch and emergency medical services (EMS) agencies, collected from January 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018. R statistical software (R, version 3.5.2) was used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics describe lift assist and repeat calls. Fisher's exact and Wilcox rank sum test explored the relationship of possible predictor variables of repeat vs. non-repeat calls.
Results: Of all calls for "fall" (n = 15,666), a total of 6,701 were identified as lift assists. A total of 256 (3.82%) of the lift assist calls were identified as repeats. Gender was similarly represented in repeat calls (63.8% female) and non-repeat calls (61.0% female). Overall patient-caller's median age was 77 (Q1, Q3: 64, 85). Repeat callers were slightly older than non-repeat callers (77 years and 73 years, respectively; p<0.001). Median total EMS scene time differed between non-repeat calls and repeat calls in a statistically significant manner; 18.13 minutes and 19.73 minutes respectively; (p<0.001). Patient gender did not differ significantly by repeat call status (p=0.428). Individual vital signs did not differ by caller group, nor did initial and final vital signs.
Conclusions: Patient age and total EMS scene time were predictors of repeat calls while vital signs did not change between initial and repeat calls. This may indicate that repeat 911 calls within 24 hours of an initial lift assist call are connected to non-medical factors.