4 years ago

Referral patterns and predictors of referral delays for patients with traumatic injuries in rural Rwanda

In developing countries, 9 out of 10 patients lack access to timely operative care. Most patients seek care at district hospitals that often lack operative capacity, creating a need for referral. Delays in referrals contribute to substantial disability and death. This study assessed the predictors of delayed referrals for injured patients. Methods This retrospective cohort study included injured patients, recommended for referral between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013, from 3 rural district hospitals in Rwanda. We defined delay as nonexecution of referral 2 days after referral recommendation. We performed a multivariate logistic regression using stepwise backward selection to identify the predictors of delayed referral. Results Of the 1,227 injured patients, 23.0% (n = 282) were recommended for referral. Of these, 36.5% (n = 103) had road traffic injuries and 53.6% (n = 151) were diagnosed with closed fractures/dislocation. Among 231 patients, 108 (46.8%) had a delay in referral execution. The predictors of delay included age >35 years (odds ratio = 2.45, 95% confidence interval: 1.09–5.50), closed fractures/dislocation (odds ratio = 16.37, 95% confidence interval: 3.13–85.78), admission to surgical wards (odds ratio = 10.25, 95% confidence interval: 2.70–38.82), and a duration ≥7 days from admission to referral recommendation (odds ratio = 4.80, 95% confidence interval: 1.38–16.63). Conclusion Over 50% of referrals were completed in a timely fashion due to a strong referral system and a patient support program. Empowering district hospitals with trained staff and appropriate equipment could reduce the need for referral, and increasing surgeons at referral hospitals could reduce referral delays.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0039606016304238

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