Objectives: To explore injured patients' experiences of trauma care to identify areas for improvement in service delivery.
Design, setting and participants: Qualitative study using in-depth, semi-structured interviews, conducted from 1 April 2011 to 31 January 2012, with 120 trauma patients registered by the Victorian State Trauma Registry and the Victorian Orthopaedic Trauma Outcomes Registry and managed at the major adult trauma services (MTS) in Victoria.
Main outcome measures: Emergent themes from patients' experiences of acute, rehabilitation and post-discharge care in the Victorian State Trauma System (VSTS).
Results: Patients perceived their acute hospital care as high quality, although 3s with communication and surgical management delays were common. Discharge from hospital was perceived as stressful, and many felt ill prepared for discharge. A consistent emerging theme was the sense of a lack of coordination of post-discharge care, and the absence of a consistent point of contact for ongoing management. Most patients' primary point of contact after discharge was outpatient clinics at the MTS, which were widely criticised because of substantial delays in receiving an appointment, prolonged waiting times, limited time with clinicians, lack of continuity of care and inability to see senior clinicians.
Conclusions: This study highlights perceived 3s in the patient care pathway in the VSTS, especially those relating to communication, information provision and post-discharge care. Trauma patients perceived the need for a single point of contact for coordination of post-discharge care.