Background: Scientific knowledge on functional outcome after injury is limited. During the past decade, a variety of measures have been used at various moments in different study populations. Guidelines are needed to increase comparability between studies.
Methods: A working group of the European Consumer Safety Association conducted a literature review of empirical studies into injury-related disability (1995-2005). We included injury from all levels of severity and selected studies using generic health status measures with both short-term and long-term follow up. The results were used as input for a consensus procedure toward the development of guidelines for defining the study populations, selecting the health status measures, selecting the timings of the assessments, and data collection procedures.
Results: The group reached consensus on a common core of health status measures and assessment moments. The group advises to use a combination of EuroQol-5D and Health Utilities Mark III in all studies on injury-related disability. This combination covers all relevant health domains, is applicable in all kinds of injury populations and in widely different age ranges, provides a link with utility scores, and has several practical advantages (e.g., brevity, availability in different languages). For specific types of injury, the common core may be supplemented by injury-specific measures. The group advises a common core of assessments at 1, 2, 4, and 12 months after injury.
Conclusions: Our guidelines should be tested and may lead to improved and more consistent epidemiologic data on the incidence, severity, and duration of injury-related disability.