Infrequent attendance in general practice after a major disaster: a problem? A longitudinal study using medical records and self-reported distress and functioning.

G. Donker, P.G. van der Velden, J. Kerssens, C.J. Yzermans

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective. To assess the characteristics and implications for care of infrequent attendance in
    general practice in the aftermath of disaster.
    Methods. A study of the content of electronic medical records (EMRs) in pre- and post-disaster
    periods linked to an enquiry using self-reported questionnaires administered 3 weeks and
    18monthspost-disaster.Thedisaster (explosionof a fireworkdepot in Enschede,The Netherlands)
    caused 23 deaths, about 1000 people injured and 1200 people who had to relocate. Sample included
    survivors (N = 922) who participated in two surveys and whose data could be linked to
    EMRs of GPs. A comparison of reported morbidity in ‘infrequent’ (a maximum of three times
    in men and four times in women in the first two post-disaster years) and ‘more frequent attenders’
    (frequency determined post-disaster) in general practice examined in relation to health status
    (measured by diagnoses in EMRs, symptom checklist and quality of life instrument) was the
    main outcome measure.
    Results. Infrequent attenders reported approximately three times as few contacts as more frequent
    attenders in the pre-disaster year (P < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed
    that infrequent attenders were likely to be younger, less depressed, have better subjective
    health and physical functioning and exhibited more hostile behaviour (measured by questionnaire).
    Infrequent attenders were less often personally bereaved by the disaster, but more often
    relocated, and had a lower prevalence of psychological problems pre- and post-disaster although
    this increased stronger (by 10-fold).
    Conclusions. Both groups showed the same type of psychological problems post-disaster, but
    differed in the frequency of contacting the GP.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)92-97
    Number of pages5
    JournalBMC Family Practice
    Volume25
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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