S.F.LOH1, J.Y.K.YAP1, W.T.CHEN1
Tan Tock Seng Hospital1
Frequent admitters (FAs) are defined by the Ministry of Health as patients with three or more inpatient admissions in a year. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the delivery of healthcare, as well as the health-seeking behaviour of patients. This study aims to explore the impact of the COVID-19 situation on the profile of FAs of Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) during the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) Orange period.
A retrospective cross-sectional study was carried out on FAs of TTSH Community Health Team (CHT) enrolled pre and post DORSCON Orange. Data included number and percentage of FAs enrolled, their admission discipline and the apparent causes for frequent admissions.
An average of 8.1 patients per day were enrolled to CHT before DORSCON Orange, and 2.5 after.
There was a decrease in admissions due to heart failure, dialysis-associated complications, frailty and cancer.
There was an increase in admissions due to diabetes mellitus (DM) and recurrent infections.
Of those with recurrent infections, 45.5% had UTI and 31.8% had pneumonia. Of those with DM complications, 87.5% had Diabetic foot ulcers, or peripheral vascular disease.
DORSCON Orange caused a significant decrease in the average number of FA patients admitted to TTSH. This was because of diversion of cases away from TTSH Emergency Department, as well as perhaps public perception and patient avoidance of TTSH. Against such a backdrop, the increase in cases admitted for DM foot and recurrent infections suggest that these are serious conditions that warrant closer monitoring and management, despite the pandemic.