Inpatient Rehabilitation After Pediatric And Adolescent Trauma: Outcomes And Discharge Needs

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Journal of Surgical Research


Introduction: Traumatic injury is the leading cause of pediatric mortality and morbidity in the United States. Pediatric trauma survivors requiring inpatient rehabilitation (IPR) require coordinated, multispecialty follow-up. Knowledge of the nature and level of disability is necessary for planning this continued care that is specific to the needs of pediatric trauma patients. This study aims to describe the outcomes of pediatric and adolescent trauma patients using measures of functional progression. Materials and methods: A retrospective review of trauma patients aged ≤18 y admitted to IPR between January 2018 and December 2020 at the only certified pediatric rehabilitation center in the region was performed. Results: Ninety five children and adolescents were admitted to IPR after traumatic injury with diagnoses of multitrauma (MT, N = 18), traumatic brain injury (TBI, N = 59), and spinal cord injury (SCI, N = 18). School aged children returned to school at high rates for all injury types (MT: 86.7%, TBI: 97.4%, SCI: 93.8%, P = ns). All groups had similar hospital and rehabilitation length of stay, and most patients required a durable medical equipment at discharge (79%). Using pediatric functional independence measure scoring progression from admission to discharge from IPR, SCI patients made significant improvement in bladder function and the least improvement in stair function. Patients sustaining a TBI made significant improvement in memory and comprehension tasks. Conclusions: Pediatric and adolescent trauma patients admitted to IPR had a positive progression during their therapy but required variable ongoing care depending on the mechanism of injury. Excellent rates of returning to school were seen across the three injury types.

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