Development of a framework to improve rehabilitation and health outcome in major trauma patients and trauma systems.
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Rehabilitation outcomes are an important measurement of trauma system effectiveness. However, currently there is no clinically applicable trauma rehabilitation score or framework available to evaluate health and rehabilitation needs after trauma. The World report on Disability (2011) recommended the application of the World Health Organisation International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF) as a framework for all aspects of rehabilitation. A standardised language, based on coded categories would aid in international efforts to evaluate health and disability globally. The ICF framework has not been applied in trauma rehabilitation or trauma systems to date. The objectives were to investigate rehabilitation needs of trauma patients and evaluate to what extent the ICF can be used as a framework to capture and assess health and rehabilitation outcome of patients following traumatic injuries. Two cohort studies with 103 and 308 patients respectively demonstrated the utility of the Rehabilitation Complexity Scale (RCS) in an acute trauma setting. The RCS outperformed other acute measures and rehabilitation complexity correlated with length of stay and discharge destination. A systematic review of 34 articles confirmed that outcome measures frequently used in trauma outcome studies represent only six percent of health concepts contained in the ICF. A quantitative international on-line questionnaire with expert clinicians working in trauma (n=217), identified 121 ICF categories pertinent to rehabilitation and health outcome of trauma patients. Qualitative patient interviews (n=32) identified nearly double the amount of ICF categories (n=234) compared to clinicians. Combined analysis of qualitative and quantitative data presents 109 ICF categories important for rehabilitation and health outcome assessment of trauma patients, using the ICF as a framework. This thesis describes the need for improved outcome evaluation of trauma patients. It demonstrates the acceptability of the ICF language and framework amongst clinicians and suggests the application of the ICF as a framework for trauma service delivery and outcome assessment.
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