This paper aims to document the types of inpatient and outpatient post-acute services children receive after discharge from an acute care hospital for head injury and to better understand the extent to which children fail to receive services and the reasons for not receiving needed services. A follow-up was conducted on 95 children (aged 5-15) 1 year after they were hospitalized for head injury. Parents were interviewed by phone concerning their child's use of and need for medical, rehabilitation, and social services since the injury. Questions were also asked regarding the child's current health status and behaviour. Inpatient records were reviewed to obtain information on the characteristics of the injury. Overall use of outpatient rehabilitation and social services was low during the year following injury, ranging from 0-18% of the study sample. Although need for and use of services was positively correlated with head injury severity, it appears that unmet need was highest for children with the least severe head injuries. Finally, need for physical or occupational therapy and mental health services was unrecognized for one third of children with physical limitations and 40% of children with at least 14 identified behaviour problems. These findings underscore the need for physicians and other health care professionals to thoroughly evaluate children during follow-up visits as well as during the initial hospitalization for head injury-related deficits. Identification of functional deficits or behavioural problems should be followed-up by evaluation and treatment by qualified rehabilitation professionals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Neurology