Introduction: Non-accidental trauma (NAT) has significant societal and health care implications. Standardized care has been shown to improve outcomes. The purpose of our study was to survey trauma centers and elucidate the continued variable management of NAT.
Methods: After institutional review board approval, an email survey was sent to Level 1 and 2 ACS verified trauma centers along with general and pediatric surgery training programs. Trauma hospital characteristics and NAT management were analyzed.
Results: A total of 493 emails were sent and 91 responses (18%) were received. There were 74 (81%) pediatric surgeons who responded and 15(17%) adult general surgeons. The most common location of respondents were children's hospitals within academic/community hospitals (58%) followed by stand-alone children hospitals (42%), and adult only hospitals (9%). 51 (57%) providers reported using a screening tool; most commonly used by the emergency department (52%). 75% of providers reported utilizing management protocols in which 71% were initiated by trauma surgery. The most common consulting and admitting service for NAT was trauma surgery (86% and 84%). When comparing stand-alone and affiliated children hospitals, there was no difference in the use of a screening tool (54% vs. 59%; p = 0.84), and management protocol (70% vs. 85%; p = 0.19). However, those providers from pediatric trauma centers used a management protocol more often than providers from adult trauma centers (78% vs. 38%; p = 0.04). No providers from adult trauma centers had intentions to initiate a management protocol in the future.
Conclusion: Screening and management of non-accidental trauma continues to vary across the country. Future studies focusing on standardization and outreach/education to adult trauma centers is warranted.
Keywords: Child abuse; Children; Non-accidental trauma; Survey.
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