Introduction: Assessing outcomes in the paediatric trauma population is important. Identifying suitable instruments can be problematic. This article highlights the commonly used outcome measures for assessing functional status and health related quality of life in paediatric trauma patients. Child specific characteristics which impact upon instrument development and selection are reviewed.
Methods: An electronic database search was conducted to identify suitable English language measures used for outcome assessment in paediatric trauma patients from 1966 to present.
Results: Nine suitable instruments were identified, the child health questionnaire (CHQ), Glasgow outcome scale (GOS), paediatric overall performance category (POPC), PedsQL 4.0 generic core scales, paediatric evaluation of disability inventory (PEDI), functional independence measure (FIM), WeeFIM and an unnamed paediatric trauma specific measure [Gofin R, Hass T, Adler B, The development of disability scales for childhood and adolescent injuries. J Clin Epidemiol 1995;48:977-84]. Each instrument was found to have advantages and disadvantages for assessing outcomes in a paediatric trauma population.
Conclusion: The PedsQL 4.0 generic core scale could be feasible for administration as a routine outcome measure for paediatric trauma groups. For very young children an additional measure such as that proposed by Gofin et al. [Gofin R, Hass T, Adler B, The development of disability scales for childhood and adolescent injuries. J Clin Epidemiol 1995;48:977-84] may be indicated. Future use of these instruments in the paediatric population would benefit from further psychometric evaluation.