Objectives: To document service utilization by people with a traumatic brain injury at different times postinjury and to identify factors that predict service use.
Design: Cross-sectional study design. Four groups of subjects were randomly selected from a regional database, according to their time postinjury: 6-18 months; 2-4 years; 6-9 years; and 10-17 years.
Subjects: A total of 119 adults with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Setting: Hospital and community-based clients in Sydney, Australia.
Outcome measures: Glasgow Outcome Scale, Disability Rating Scale; Functional Independence Measure; Lidcombe Psychosocial Disability Scale; number, type, and frequency of services used in the previous 12 months.
Results: Subjects in all four groups used a variety of services. The mean number of services used was 4.2, and there was only a moderate decline in service use over time. The use of medical and allied health services remained high in all four groups. Severity of injury, physical and cognitive disability, and psychosocial disability were all predictors of service utilization. Psychosocial disability was strongly associated with ongoing service utilization.
Conclusion: In this study, people with TBI used services well beyond the early stage of recovery. Psychosocial disability may be a better predictor of service use than physical and cognitive disability alone.