Background: The NHS Outcomes Framework for England has identified recovery from major injury as an important clinical area. At present, there are no established outcome indicators. As more patients survive major trauma, outcomes will need to be measured in terms of morbidity and not mortality alone.
Objective: To make recommendations for a selection of outcome measures that could be integrated into National Clinical Audit data collection and form part of clinical governance requirements for Regional Trauma Networks (RTNs) and measures by which RTNs are held to account by government. Specific focus was given to acute care and rehabilitation for both adults and children.
Method: A Multiprofessional, multidisciplinary expert group reviewed the current evidence on outcome measures for major trauma in the adult and children's populations, informed by a systematic review carried out jointly by the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) and the Cochrane Injuries Group. A structured discussion covered functional and quality of life outcome measures as well as patient experience and indicators such as return to work, education and social dependency.
Results: For the adult population the group agreed with the in-hospital performance and hospital discharge measures recommended in the TARN and Cochrane systematic review. Concerning longer-term outcome indicators, the group suggested the use of the Glasgow Outcome Scale - Extended (GOS-E) and European Quality of Life 5D (EQ-5D) with consideration to be given to the World Health Organisation Quality of Life survey (WHO-QoL). For patients who had ongoing inpatient rehabilitation needs the group thought the measurement of the Rehabilitation Complexity Scale (RCS) and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) were important in total brain injury and, the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (ASIA) and Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) in spinal cord injury. For children the group recommended the use of the King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury (KOSCHI) and Paediatric Quality of Life measure (Peds-QL) preferably at multiple intervals following injury to take into account effects on development.
Conclusion: Specific recommendations were made for the use of outcome measures in adults and children with major trauma and those with complex rehabilitation needs following injury. More work on outcome measures in major trauma is needed especially for children. There are currently no robust measures of patient experience for use in major trauma. The importance of data linkage to allow measurement of non-clinical outcomes such as return to work, maintainence of education and societal dependency was emphasised by the group. A system for recording outcomes should be piloted post injury and at 6 and 12 months, with those still requiring inpatient rehabilitation after this time having longer follow up.
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