Patients with Severe Head Injuries Have Better Outcomes when Treated by Trauma Centers, Even if it Means Bypassing Other Hospitals
Penn study shows a major opportunity to improve outcomes for the half of severe head injury patients who are brought to hospitals without trauma centers
Patients who sustain severe head injuries tend to have better outcomes if they are taken to a designated trauma center, but 44 percent of them are first taken to hospitals without these specialized care capabilities, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that patients under 65 were significantly more likely to fare well — going home from the hospital without the need for nursing care or inpatient rehabilitation — if taken to a trauma center first, rather than a non-trauma center. Patients over 65 were significantly less likely to die from their head injury when they went first to a trauma center.
The results highlight a serious care disparity for these severely injured patients, and point to the need for systematic changes to improve care.
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