Kathrine Carstensen; Stina Lou; Lotte Groth Jensen; Nina Konstantin Nissen; Lisbeth Ørtenblad; Margarete Pfau; Pia Vedel Ankersen
Background: There is increased clinical and political attention towards integrating general and psychiatric emergency departments (ED). However, research into psychiatric service users’ experiences regarding general EDs is limited. Aim: To identify and summarize current, qualitative evidence regarding service users’ experiences attending EDs. A secondary aim is to apply and test the newly developed CERQual approach to summarizing qualitative review findings. Methods: A systematic literature review of five databases based on PRISMA guidelines yielded 3334 unique entries. Screening by title/abstract identified 57 studies and, after full text assessment, nine studies were included. The included studies were critically appraised using CASP. Thematic synthesis was applied for data extraction and identification of findings. The CERQual approach was utilized to assess the confidence of the findings. Results: The results of the review showed moderate confidence in the findings that service users experience meeting caring and judgmental ED staff, and that waiting times and a stressful environment are integral to their ED experiences. In contrast, low-to-very low confidence was seen in the findings that service users experience having their symptoms ignored and that EDs are used due to a lack of alternatives. A companion may improve service users experience and outcome of ED visits. Conclusion: Service users experience stress and discomfort in the ED. Service users highly appreciate knowing staff who can ease the discomfort. Overall, the results of this review speak in favour of integrated EDs where service users’ needs are more likely to be recognized and accommodated.
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