Regional variation in travel to health services following transport-related major trauma

Jemma Keeves, Belinda J. Gabbe, Christina L. Ekegren, Richard Fry, Ben Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Post-discharge healthcare needs are complex and persistent for people following major trauma. A number of geographic barriers to accessing healthcare exist, particularly for people in regional areas. The aim of this study was to explore regional variation in the distances travelled to access health services and identify patterns of health service use in the first three years following transport-related major trauma. Methods: This registry-based cohort study used linked data from the Victorian State Trauma Registry (VSTR) and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). Victorians who sustained major trauma from a transport-related event between January 1 2006 and December 31 2016, with at least three years of follow-up TAC claims data were included in the study. Geospatial mapping of the median distance travelled to medical and allied health services was conducted for each Victorian Local Government Area. Results: In the first three years post-discharge, 4,964 people (75.6%) visited a general practitioner, 5058 (77.0%) saw other medical professionals, 2269 (34.6%) accessed mental health services, 2154 (32.8%) saw an occupational therapist and 4404 (67.0%) attended a physical therapy service. Geospatial mapping revealed that people in regional Local Government Area travelled further distances to access health services. Specific clustering of increased travel distances was observed in regional areas of the far west and north-east of Victoria. The number of people using services declined with each subsequent year beyond hospital discharge. However, the number of trips were consistent over time for those still engaged in services. Conclusions: Distances travelled to access health services vary across geographic regions and may result in an increased travel burden for those in some regional Local Government Area. Understanding gaps in health services by geographic region can assist to improve service availability. Alternate service delivery methods, such as telehealth, may assist to reduce the associated burden of travel for those in regional areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1707-1715
Number of pages9
JournalInjury
Volume53
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords

  • Access to health services
  • Health service delivery
  • Rural health
  • Transport injuries
  • Trauma

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