Predictors of 12 month functional outcomes and length of stay of severely injured children in NSW, Australia. A longitudinal multi-centre study
Background: The majority of paediatric injury outcomes studies focus on mortality rather than the impact on long-term quality of life, health care use and other health-related outcomes. This study sought to determine predictors of 12-month functional and psychosocial outcomes for children sustaining major injury in NSW. Methods: The study included all children < 16 years requiring intensive care or an injury severity score (ISS) ≥ 9 treated in NSW at a paediatric trauma centre (PTC). Children were identified through the three PTCs and NSW Trauma Registry. The paediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) and EuroQol five-dimensional EQ-5D-Y were used to measure HRQoL post-injury, completed via parent/carer proxy recruited through NSW PTCs. Results: There were 510 children treated at the three NSW PTCs during the 15-month study period. The mean (SD) age was 6.7 (6.0) years, with a median NISS (New Injury Severity Score) of 11 (IQR: 9–18). Regression analysis showed worse psychosocial health at twelve months was associated with hospital length of stay (LoS) and number of body regions injured (F2,65 = 5.85, p = 0.005). Physical outcome was associated with LoS and intensive care unit (ICU) admission (F2,66 = 13.48, p < 0.001). Hospital LoS was significantly associated with NISS and head injury (F2,398 = 51.5, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Hospital length of stay and polytrauma are independent factors that negatively influence psychological and physical outcomes of children with major injuries. Early intervention to enable emotional well-being, discharge home and long-term follow up such as dedicated family support and rehabilitation at home could reduce preventable poor outcomes.
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