Complications, burden and in-hospital death among hospital treated injury patients in Victoria, Australia: a data linkage study

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Background: A wide range of outcome measures can be calculated for hospital-treated injury patients. These include mortality, use of critical care services, complications, length of stay, treatment costs, readmission and nursing care after discharge. Each address different aspects and phases of injury recovery and can yield vastly different results. This study aims to: (1) measure and report this range of outcomes in hospital-treated injury patients in a defined population; and (2) describe the associations between injury characteristics, socio-demographics and comorbidities and the various outcomes. Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted of injury-related hospital admissions from July 2012 to June 2014 (152,835 patients) in Victoria, Australia. The admission records were linked within the dataset, enabling follow-up, to assess the outcomes of in-hospital death, burden, complications and 30-day readmissions. Associations between factors and outcomes were determined using univariate regression analysis. Results: The proportion of patients who died in hospital was 0.9%, while 26.8% needed post-discharge care. On average patients had 2.4 complications (confidence interval (CI) 2.4-2.5) related to their initial injury, the mean cost of treating a patient was Australian dollars 7013 (CI 6929-7096) and the median length of stay was one day (inter quartile range 1-3). Intensive-care-unit-stay was recorded in 3% of the patients. All-cause 30-day readmissions occurred in 12.3%, non-planned 30-day readmissions in 7.9%, while potentially avoidable 30-day readmissions were observed in 3.2% of the patients. Increasing age was associated with all outcomes. The need for care post-discharge from hospital was highest among children and the oldest age group (85 years and over). Injury severity was associated with all adverse outcomes. Increasing number of comorbidities increased the likelihood of all outcomes. Overall, outcomes are shown to differ by age, gender, comorbidities, body region injured, injury type and injury severity, and to a lesser extent by socio-economic areas. Conclusions: Outcomes and risk factors differ depending on the outcome measured, and the method used for measuring the outcome. Similar outcomes measured in different ways produces varying results. Data linkage has provided a valuable platform for a comprehensive overview of outcomes, which can help design and target secondary and tertiary preventive measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number798
Number of pages21
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2019


  • Burden
  • Complications
  • Death
  • Hospital-admitted
  • Injury
  • Linkage
  • Outcome
  • Readmission

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