Patterns of health care use of injured adults: a population-based matched cohort study
RJ Mitchell, CM Cameron, R McClure
Background: Healthcare use by traumatically injured individuals prior to and subsequent to their injury are not often explored for different types of injuries. This study aims to describe health care use 12 months preceding and 12 months following a traumatic injury by injury type and injury severity.
Method: Hospital and mortality data from three Australian states were linked in a population-based matched cohort study. Individuals ≥18 years who had an injury-related hospital admission in 2009 were identified as the injured cohort. A comparison cohort of non-injured people, matched 1:1 on age, gender and postcode of residence, was randomly selected from the electoral roll. Twelve-month pre- and post-index injury health service use was examined. Rates, adjusted rate ratios and attributable risk proportions were calculated by injury type and severity.
Results: The injury cohort experienced higher 12-month pre- and post-injury hospital admissions than the non-injured group. By 6 to 7 months post-injury, the injury cohort had largely returned to their pre-injury health service use levels, except for injuries involving dislocations, sprains and strains and injury to nerves and spinal cord. Hip fracture (17.69 per 100 person-months) and poisoning (16.09 per 100 person-months) had the highest rates of post-injury hospitalisation in the injured cohort. The adjusted rate ratios (ARR) for post-injury hospitalisation were highest for poisoning (ARR: 3.77; 95% CI: 3.38–4.21) and injury to nerves and spinal cord (ARR: 2.73; 95% CI: 2.27–3.28). Poisoning also had the highest ARR for post-injury LOS (ARR: 5.31; 95% CI: 4.51–6.27).
Conclusions: After sustaining a traumatic injury, many individuals are readmitted to hospital and require ongoing care up to 12 months post-injury. That injured individuals post-injury largely return to their pre-index injury hospital use by 6 to 7 months could imply a return to pre-injury function and/or that other measures of health service use should be explored. Trauma services should consider long-term follow-up and support services for seriously injured patients post-hospital discharge.