Objective: This study compares characteristics of American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and non-Hispanic Whites (NHW) hospitalized for traumatic injury and examines the effect of race on hospital disposition.
Methods: Using 2007-2014 National Trauma Data Bank data, we described differences in demographic and injury characteristics between AI/AN (n = 39,656) and NHWs (n = 3,309,484) hospitalized with traumatic injuries. Multivariable regressions, adjusted for demographic and injury characteristics, compared in-hospital mortality and the risk of discharge to different dispositions (inpatient rehabilitation/long-term care facility, skilled nursing facility, home with home health services) rather than home between AI/AN and NHW patients.
Results: Compared to NHWs, a higher proportion of AI/ANs were age 19-44 (49% versus 27%) years and hospitalized with assault-related injuries (25% versus 5%). AI/ANs had lower odds of dying than NHWs during hospitalization (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.72, 95% CI 0.63-0.84). However, AI/ANs also had lower odds than NHWs to discharge to locations with additional health services even after controlling for injury severity (inpatient rehabilitation/long-term care facilities aOR 0.79, 95% CI 0.67-0.93; skilled nursing facility aOR 0.70, 95% CI 0.49-0.98; home with home health services aOR 0.62, 95% CI 0.49-0.79).
Conclusions: Injury patterns and acute hospitalization outcomes were significantly different for AI/ANs compared to NHWs. Injury prevention strategies targeting AI/ANs should reflect these differential injury patterns. Outcomes such as disability and access to rehabilitation services should be included when considering the burden of injury among AI/AN communities.
Keywords: Alaska Native; American Indian; Health care disparity; Hospitalization; Rehabilitation; Trauma.