Home > Time of self-harm presentations to hospital emergency departments: a scoping review.

McEvoy, David and Clarke, Mary and Joyce, Mary (2022) Time of self-harm presentations to hospital emergency departments: a scoping review. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Early online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-022-02353-4.

External website: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00127-0...

BACKGROUND
The time at which a self-harm presentation occurs has been shown to be a significant factor as to whether a patient receives a psychiatric assessment or not, which may benefit the patient's future care. This scoping review sought to identify studies that report on the peak time of day for self-harm presentations to hospital Emergency Departments (EDs). This could help hospital managers to properly allocate the appropriate services for self-harm patients when they are needed the most.

METHODS
A scoping review of the literature from the year 2000 until 30th June 2021 was carried out using the PubMed, Web of Science, Embase and the Cochrane library databases.

RESULTS
There were 22 studies that were included for data extraction. The findings from 20 of these studies indicate that self-harm presentations tend to occur outside of working hours (09:00-17:00, Monday to Friday). The majority of studies found that the peak time for self-harm presentations was in the hours before and after midnight.

CONCLUSIONS
While this scoping review identified a satisfactory number of studies for data extraction, examination of time of day of presentation was a secondary outcome across most studies. Given that the majority of studies focused on adult samples, further research is necessary to investigate peak times for other age cohorts. More research on this topic is also needed in low- and middle-income countries. Consideration should be given to ensure that the necessary resources to treat hospital presenting self-harm are allocated outside of typical working hours.


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