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1.  Resource implications of head injuries on an acute surgical unit. 
Head injuries are expensive and demanding in terms of resources. In the UK, most are cared for outside neurosurgical centres. In the absence of specialist rehabilitation services, patients with on-going disability add to those admitted for observation and treatment on acute surgical wards. We audited the workload pattern and financial implications related to head injuries on a general surgical unit in a central London teaching hospital. Data collected prospectively at the time of admission and derived from departmental computerized information systems included clinical outcome, hospital stay and its relationship to severity of injury and other factors. Ward, departmental (accident and emergency (A & E), intensive therapy unit (ITU), radiology, and theatre) and neurosurgical referral costs were derived. Long-term social and rehabilitation costs were not calculated. Over a 6 month period 899 patients with head injuries were treated in the A & E department, of whom 156 were admitted. Of the admitted patients 68% were classified as minor; 22% as moderate; and 10% as severe head injuries. Fifty-one per cent of adult admissions were intoxicated by alcohol. Prolonged hospital stay was related to age, severity of head injury, mechanism of injury, associated injuries and preexisting neuropsychiatric conditions (including alcoholism). Six patients died. The direct cost of these head injuries patients was estimated at 173,500 pounds, during which time they occupied 7.6% of our unit's adult inpatient capacity. Twenty-four hour observation of 76 patients with minor head injuries contributed 9700 pounds (5.6%) to this figure. Associated extracranial injuries cost a further 46,500 pounds.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC1294323  PMID: 8196036
2.  Human Resource and Funding Constraints for Essential Surgery in District Hospitals in Africa: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000242.
In the second of two papers investigating surgical provision in eight district hospitals in Saharan African countries, Margaret Kruk and colleagues describe the range of providers of surgical care and anesthesia and estimate the related costs.
Background
There is a growing recognition that the provision of surgical services in low-income countries is inadequate to the need. While constrained health budgets and health worker shortages have been blamed for the low rates of surgery, there has been little empirical data on the providers of surgery and cost of surgical services in Africa. This study described the range of providers of surgical care and anesthesia and estimated the resources dedicated to surgery at district hospitals in three African countries.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional survey of data from eight district hospitals in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda. There were no specialist surgeons or anesthetists in any of the hospitals. Most of the health workers were nurses (77.5%), followed by mid-level providers (MLPs) not trained to provide surgical care (7.8%), and MLPs trained to perform surgical procedures (3.8%). There were one to six medical doctors per hospital (4.2% of clinical staff). Most major surgical procedures were performed by doctors (54.6%), however over one-third (35.9%) were done by MLPs. Anesthesia was mainly provided by nurses (39.4%). Most of the hospital expenditure was related to staffing. Of the total operating costs, only 7% to 14% was allocated to surgical care, the majority of which was for obstetric surgery. These costs represent a per capita expenditure on surgery ranging from US$0.05 to US$0.14 between the eight hospitals.
Conclusion
African countries have adopted different policies to ensure the provision of surgical care in their respective district hospitals. Overall, the surgical output per capita was very low, reflecting low staffing ratios and limited expenditures for surgery. We found that most surgical and anesthesia services in the three countries in the study were provided by generalist doctors, MLPs, and nurses. Although more information is needed to estimate unmet need for surgery, increasing the funds allocated to surgery, and, in the absence of trained doctors and surgeons, formalizing the training of MLPs appears to be a pragmatic and cost-effective way to make basic surgical services available in underserved areas.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Infectious diseases remain the major killers in developing countries, but traumatic injuries, complications of childbirth, and other conditions that need surgery are important contributors to the overall burden of disease in these countries. Unfortunately, the provision of surgical services in low- and middle-income countries is often insufficient. There are many fewer operations per a head of population in developing countries than in developed countries, essential operations such as cesarean sections for complicated deliveries are not always available, and elective operations such as male and female sterilization can be difficult to obtain. Lack of funding for surgical procedures and shortages of trained health workers have often been blamed for the low rates of surgery in developing countries. For example, anesthesiologists (doctors who are trained to give anesthetics and other pain-relieving agents) and trained anesthetists (usually nurses and technicians) are rare in many African countries, as are surgeons and obstetricians (doctors who look after women during pregnancy and childbirth). To make matters worse, these specialists often work in tertiary referral hospitals in large cities. In district hospitals, which provide most of the primary health care needs of rural populations, basic surgical care is usually provided by “mid-level health care providers” (MLPs)—individuals with a level of training between that of nurses and physicians.
Why Was This Study Done?
Various organizations are currently working to improve emergency and essential surgical care in developing countries. For example, the Bellagio Essential Surgery Group (BESG) seeks to define, quantify, and address the problem of unmet surgical needs in sub-Saharan Africa. Importantly, however, before any programs can be introduced to improve access to surgical services in developing countries, better baseline data on existing surgical services needs to be collected—most of the available information on these services is anecdotal. In this study, the researchers (most of whom are members of the BESG) investigate the provision of surgical procedures and anesthesia in district hospitals in three sub-Saharan African countries and estimate the costs of surgery performed in the same hospitals.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected recent data on the number of doctors, MLPs, and nurses in two district hospitals in Tanzania and in Mozambique, and from four district hospitals in Uganda and information on each hospital's expenditure. Most of the health workers in these hospitals (which care for 3 million people between them) were nurses (77.5%), followed by MLPs not trained to provide surgical care (7.8%), and MLPs trained to provide surgical care (3.8%). The hospitals had between one and six medical doctors each (28 across all the hospitals), but there were no trained surgeons or anesthesiologists posted at any of the hospitals. About half of the major surgical procedures undertaken at these hospitals were performed by doctors but more than a third were done by MLPs although the exact pattern of personnel involved in surgery varied among the three countries. Anesthesia was mostly provided by nurses and doctors; again the pattern of anesthesia provision varied among countries and hospitals. Only 7%–14% of overall hospital expenditure was allocated to surgical care and most of this allocation was used for obstetric services. Finally, the researchers estimate that, on the basis of district populations, the district hospitals spent between US$0.05 and US$0.14 per head on surgical services.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in the district hospitals investigated in this study, physicians, MLPs, and nurses provide most of the surgical care. Furthermore, although all the hospitals in the study provide some surgical care, it accounts for a small part of the hospitals' overall operating costs. These findings may not be generalizable to other district hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa and provide no information about the unmet needs for surgical care. Nevertheless, these findings and those of a separate paper that investigates the range and volume of surgical procedures undertaken in the same district hospitals provide a valuable baseline for planning the expansion of health care services in Africa. They also suggest that increasing the funds allocated to surgery and formalizing the training of MLPs might be a cost-effective way of increasing access to surgical care in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000242.
The range and volume of surgery in the same hospitals is investigated in a PLoS Medicine Research Article by Moses Galukande et al.
Information on the Bellagio Essential Surgery Group is available
WHO's Global initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care plans to take essential emergency, basic surgery and anesthesia skills to health care staff in low- and middle-income countries around the world; WHO also has a page describing the importance of emergency and essential surgery in primary health care
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000242
PMCID: PMC2834706  PMID: 20231869
3.  A review of 187 gunshot wound admissions to a teaching hospital over a 54-month period: training and service implications. 
BACKGROUND: Violence involving the use of firearms has increased in the UK over the past decade. This study assesses the implications of such injuries for service provision and training by reviewing the experience at one hospital. METHODS: Accident and emergency triage data were searched for patients presenting with gunshot wounds over a 54-month period. Case notes were reviewed and patterns of care established. The resources required for clinical management were ascertained, and the financial consequences determined at contemporary full cost. RESULTS: There were 187 attendances with 247 wounds. Mean age was 21 years (range, 8-63 years). Of the attendances, 69% were out of normal working hours. Of the 187 cases, 97 patients were admitted to one hospital (83 of whom required surgery) and 10 patients were transferred to other hospitals (6 for plastic surgery not available at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and 4 due to lack of beds). Of the 80 patients who were not admitted, 4 died in accident and emergency, the rest were either air gun wounds or relatively simple higher calibre injuries. A wide range of surgical specialties was involved (limb injury, 53; thoraco-abdominal and vascular, 28; head and neck, 5; and orbit, 2), and combinations of injuries transgressed specialty and sub-specialty boundaries. The total cost of patient care was pound 267,000. CONCLUSIONS: Gunshot wounds present a heavy demand on the clinical and financial resources of the receiving hospital, and surgeons responsible for unselected acute admissions in "general surgery" should be capable of dealing with these indiscriminate injuries. Current training and service trends towards increasing sub-specialisation may mitigate against them achieving or retaining this capability.
doi:10.1308/003588404322827482
PMCID: PMC1964163  PMID: 15005928
4.  Has the Trauma Surgeon Become House Staff for the Surgical Subspecialist? 
American journal of surgery  2006;192(6):732-737.
Summary
The general surgeon’s growing disinterest in trauma is fueled by lack of surgical opportunity and high burden of non operative responsibilities. The majority of care provided by the trauma surgeon supports other procedure oriented specialties. This is a major deterrent surgeon participation in trauma care and must be addressed in the evolution of the Acute Care Surgeon.
Background
The role of the trauma surgeon is perceived to be mostly supportive of other procedure oriented specialties. We designed this study to characterize the operative and nonoperative responsibilities of the contemporary trauma surgeon.
Methods
Trauma patients admitted to an urban academic Level I Trauma Center were studied using trauma registry data for 2004.
Results
The large majority of patients admitted to trauma service have mild single system injuries to one or two anatomic regions. Most (57%) did not have injuries to the neck, chest, or abdomen. Head and extremity injuries were present in 45% and 46% of patients respectively. Operations were performed by orthopedists in 28%, trauma surgeons in 11% and neurosurgeons in 6% of patiets respectively.
Conclusions
The contemporary trauma surgeon has little operative opportunity and provides a disproportionate amount of nonoperative care in supportive of consultant specialists. This is a major deterrent to general surgeon interest in trauma care and must be addressed as the Acute Care Surgeon evolves.
doi:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2006.08.035
PMCID: PMC2276667  PMID: 17161084
Trauma Surgeon; Acute Care Surgery; Emergency Surgeon
5.  Right care, right time, right place: improving outcomes for people with spinal cord injury through early access to intervention and improved access to specialised care: study protocol 
Background
Traumatic spinal cord injury is a devastating condition impacting adversely on the health and wellbeing, functioning and independence, social participation and quality of life of the injured person. In Australia, there are approximately 15 new cases per million population per year; economic burden estimates suggest 2 billion dollars annually. For optimal patient outcomes expert consensus recommends expeditious transfer (“<24 hours of injury”) to a specialist Spinal Cord Injury Unit, where there is an interdisciplinary team equipped to provide comprehensive care for the many and complex issues associated with traumatic spinal cord injury. No study of this patient population has been undertaken, that assessed the extent to which care received reflected clinical guidelines, or examined the patient journey and outcomes in relation to this. The aims of this study are to describe the nature and timing of events occurring before commencement of specialist care, and to quantify the association between these events and patient outcomes.
Methods and design
The proposed observational study will recruit a prospective cohort over two years, identified at participating sites across two Australian states; Victoria and New South Wales. Included participants will be aged 16 years and older and diagnosed with a traumatic spinal cord injury. Detailed data will be collected from the point of injury through acute care and subacute rehabilitation, discharge from hospital and community reintegration. Items will include date, time, location and external cause of injury; ambulance response, assessments and management; all episodes of hospital care including assessments, vital signs, diagnoses and treatment, inter-hospital transfers, surgical interventions and their timing, lengths of stay and complications. Telephone follow-up of survivors will be conducted at 6, 12 and 24 months.
Discussion
There is limited population level data on the effect of delayed commencement of specialist care (>24 hours) in a Spinal Cord Injury Unit. Examining current health service and clinical intervention pathways in this Australian population-based sample, in relation to their outcomes, will provide an understanding of factors associated with patient flow, resource utilisation and cost, and patient and family quality of life. Barriers to streamlined effective early-care pathways and facilitators of optimal treatment for these patients will be identified.
doi:10.1186/s12913-014-0600-7
PMCID: PMC4267049  PMID: 25477157
Acute traumatic spinal cord injury; Clinical pathways; Patient flow; Trauma systems; Access to specialist care; Quality of care; Outcomes
6.  An Economic Evaluation of Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis Strategies in Critically Ill Trauma Patients at Risk of Bleeding 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(6):e1000098.
Using decision analysis, Henry Stelfox and colleagues estimate the cost-effectiveness of three venous thromboembolism prophylaxis strategies in patients with severe traumatic injuries who were also at risk for bleeding complications.
Background
Critically ill trauma patients with severe injuries are at high risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE) and bleeding simultaneously. Currently, the optimal VTE prophylaxis strategy is unknown for trauma patients with a contraindication to pharmacological prophylaxis because of a risk of bleeding.
Methods and Findings
Using decision analysis, we estimated the cost effectiveness of three VTE prophylaxis strategies—pneumatic compression devices (PCDs) and expectant management alone, serial Doppler ultrasound (SDU) screening, and prophylactic insertion of a vena cava filter (VCF)—in trauma patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with severe injuries who were believed to have a contraindication to pharmacological prophylaxis for up to two weeks because of a risk of major bleeding. Data on the probability of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), and on the effectiveness of the prophylactic strategies, were taken from observational and randomized controlled studies. The probabilities of in-hospital death, ICU and hospital discharge rates, and resource use were taken from a population-based cohort of trauma patients with severe injuries (injury severity scores >12) admitted to the ICU of a regional trauma centre. The incidence of DVT at 12 weeks was similar for the PCD (14.9%) and SDU (15.0%) strategies, but higher for the VCF (25.7%) strategy. Conversely, the incidence of PE at 12 weeks was highest in the PCD strategy (2.9%), followed by the SDU (1.5%) and VCF (0.3%) strategies. Expected mortality and quality-adjusted life years were nearly identical for all three management strategies. Expected health care costs at 12 weeks were Can$55,831 for the PCD strategy, Can$55,334 for the SDU screening strategy, and Can$57,377 for the VCF strategy, with similar trends noted over a lifetime analysis.
Conclusions
The attributable mortality due to PE in trauma patients with severe injuries is low relative to other causes of mortality. Prophylactic placement of VCF in patients at high risk of VTE who cannot receive pharmacological prophylaxis is expensive and associated with an increased risk of DVT. Compared to the other strategies, SDU screening was associated with better clinical outcomes and lower costs.
Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
For patients who have been seriously injured in an accident or a violent attack (trauma patients), venous thromboembolism (VTE)—the formation of blood clots that limit the flow of blood through the veins—is a frequent and potentially fatal complication. The commonest form of VTE is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). “Distal” DVTs (clots that form in deep veins below the knee) affect about half of patients with severe trauma; “proximal” DVTs (clots that form above the knee) develop in one in five trauma patients. DVTs cause pain and swelling in the affected leg and can leave patients with a painful condition called post-thrombotic syndrome. Worse still, part of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs where it can cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism (PE). Distal DVTs rarely embolize but, if untreated, half of patients who present with a proximal DVT will develop a PE, and 2%–3% of them will die as a result.
Why Was This Study Done?
VTE is usually prevented by using heparin, a drug that stops blood clotting, but clinicians treating critically ill trauma patients have a dilemma. Many of these patients are at high risk of serious bleeding complications so cannot be given heparin to prevent VTE. Nonpharmacological ways to prevent VTE include the use of pneumatic compression devices to keep the blood moving in the legs (clots often form in patients confined to bed because of the sluggish blood flow in their legs), repeated screening for blood clots using Doppler ultrasound, and the insertion of a “vena cava filter” into the vein that takes blood from the legs to the heart. This last device catches blood clots before they reach the lungs but increases the risk of DVT. Unfortunately, no-one knows which VTE prevention strategy works best in trauma patients who cannot be given heparin. In this study, therefore, the researchers use decision analysis (the systematic evaluation of the most important factors affecting a decision) to estimate the costs and likely clinical outcomes of these strategies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used cost and clinical data from patients admitted to a Canadian trauma center with severe head/neck and/or abdomen/pelvis injuries (patients with a high risk of bleeding complications likely to make heparin therapy dangerous for up to two weeks after the injury) to construct a Markov decision analysis model. They then fed published data on the chances of patients developing DVT or PE, and on the effectiveness of the three VTE prevention strategies, into the model to obtain estimates of the costs and clinical outcomes of the strategies at 12 weeks after the injury and over the patients' lifetime. The estimated incidence of DVT at 12 weeks was 15% for the pneumatic compression device and Doppler ultrasound strategies, but 25% for the vena cava filter strategy. By contrast, the estimated incidence of PE was 2.9% with the pneumatic compression device, 1.5% with Doppler ultrasound, but only 0.3% with the vena cava filter. The expected mortality with all three strategies was similar. Finally, the estimated health care costs per patient at 12 weeks were Can$55,334 and Can$55,831 for the Doppler ultrasound and pneumatic compression device strategies, respectively, but Can$57,377 for the vena cava filter strategy; similar trends were seen for lifetime health care costs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, these findings depend on the data fed into the model and on the assumptions included in it. For example, because data from one Canadian trauma unit were used to construct the model, these findings may not be generalizable. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that, although VTE is common among patients with severe injuries, PE is not a major cause of death among these patients. They also suggest that the use of vena cava filters for VTE prevention in patients who cannot receive heparin should not be routinely used because it is expensive and increases the risk of DVT. Finally, these results suggest that, compared with the other strategies, serial Doppler ultrasound is associated with better clinical outcomes and lower costs.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000098.
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information (including an animation) on deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism
MedlinePlus provides links to more information about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site has information on deep vein thrombosis and on embolism (in English and Spanish)
The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma working group document Practice Management Guidelines for the Management of Venous Thromboembolism in Trauma Patients can be downloaded from the Internet
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000098
PMCID: PMC2695771  PMID: 19554085
7.  Survey of intensive care of severely head injured patients in the United Kingdom. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;312(7036):944-947.
OBJECTIVES--To study practice in intensive care of patients with severe head injury in neurosurgical referral centres in United Kingdom. DESIGN--Structured telephone interview of senior nursing staff in intensive care unit of adult neurosurgical referral centre. SETTING--39 intensive care units in hospitals that accepted acute head injuries for specialist neurosurgical management, identified from Medical Directory and information from professional bodies. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Details of organisation and administration of intensive care and patterns of monitoring and treatment for patients admitted with severe head injury. RESULTS--Patients were managed in specialist neurosurgical intensive care units in 21 of the centres and in general intensive care units in 18. Their intensive care was coordinated by an anaesthetist in 25 units and by a neurosurgeon in 12. Annual case-load varied between units: 20 received > 100 patients, 12 received 50-100, and seven received 25-49. Monitoring and treatment varied considerably between centres. Invasive arterial pressure monitoring was used routinely in 36 units, but central venous pressure monitoring was routinely used in 24 and intracranial pressure was routinely monitored in only 19. Corticosteroids were used to treat intracranial hypertension in 19 units. Seventeen units routinely aimed for arterial carbon dioxide pressure of 3.3-4.0 kPa, and one unit still used severe hyperventilation to a pressure of < 3.3 kPa. CONCLUSION--The intensive care of patients with acute head injuries varied widely between the centres surveyed. Rationalisation of the intensive care of severe head injury with the production of widely accepted guidelines ought to improve the quality of care.
PMCID: PMC2350747  PMID: 8616307
8.  Implementing the Galasko Report on the management of head injuries: the Eastern Region approach 
Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ  2001;18(5):358-365.
Objectives—The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) Report on the management of patients with head injuries under the chairmanship of Professor Galasko, published in June 1999, made important recommendations that will have a profound effect on the organisation of management of head injuries and major implications for resources. The Eastern Region carried out an audit study to determine the provision of current services available, to assess the shortfall and likely resource implications for the implementation of the report and hence lay the foundations for a strategic plan for change across the region.
Methodology—A series of interviews with all 20 accident and emergency (A&E) departments across the Eastern Region and the two regional neuroscience units (RNU) was undertaken. The results of the survey and the implications of the implementation were fed back to and discussed at a multidisciplinary regional seminar.
Results—There is considerable variation and major deficiencies in the service provision currently available for the management of head injuries in the Eastern Region. There are major deficiencies in A&E resources, care of moderate head injuries and rehabilitation and follow up of patients. There is a significant shortfall in resources for the implementation of the recommendations.
Conclusion—There are major deficiencies in the overall management of head injuries. Although the RCS Galasko Report recommendations were agreed to be very desirable, they cannot be implemented without a large increase in resources in terms of funding, staffing and training.
doi:10.1136/emj.18.5.358
PMCID: PMC1725652  PMID: 11559606
9.  Cost-effectiveness of an integrated 'fast track' rehabilitation service for multi-trauma patients involving dedicated early rehabilitation intervention programs: design of a prospective, multi-centre, non-randomised clinical trial 
Background
In conventional multi-trauma care service (CTCS), patients are admitted to hospital via the accident & emergency room. After surgery they are transferred to the IC-unit followed by the general surgery ward. Ensuing treatment takes place in a hospital's outpatient clinic, a rehabilitation centre, a nursing home or the community. Typically, each of the CTCS partners may have its own more or less autonomous treatment perspective. Clinical evidence, however, suggests that an integrated multi-trauma rehabilitation approach ('Supported Fast-track multi-Trauma Rehabilitation Service': SFTRS), featuring: 1) earlier transfer to a specialised trauma rehabilitation unit; 2) earlier start of 'non-weight-bearing' training and multidisciplinary treatment; 3) well-documented treatment protocols; 4) early individual goal-setting; 5) co-ordination of treatment between trauma surgeon and physiatrist, and 6) shorter lengths-of-stay, may be more (cost-)effective.
This paper describes the design of a prospective cohort study evaluating the (cost-) effectiveness of SFTRS relative to CTCS.
Methods/design
The study population includes multi-trauma patients, admitted to one of the participating hospitals, with an Injury Severity Scale score > = 16, complex multiple injuries in several extremities or complex pelvic and/or acetabulum fractures. In a prospective cohort study CTCS and SFTRS will be contrasted. The inclusion period is 19 months. The duration of follow-up is 12 months, with measurements taken at baseline, and at 3,6,9 and 12 months post-injury.
Primary outcome measures are 'quality of life' (SF-36) and 'functional health status' (Functional Independence Measure). Secondary outcome measures are the Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale, the Mini-Mental State Examination as an indicator of cognitive functioning, and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure measuring the extent to which individual ADL treatment goals are met. Costs will be assessed using the PROductivity and DISease Questionnaire and a cost questionnaire.
Discussion
The study will yield results on the efficiency of an adapted care service for multi-trauma patients (SFTRS) featuring earlier (and condensed) involvement of specialised rehabilitation treatment. Results will show whether improved SFTRS logistics, combined with shorter stays in hospital and rehabilitation clinic and specialised early rehabilitation training modules are more (cost-) effective, relative to CTCS.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials register (ISRCTN68246661) and Netherlands Trial Register (NTR139).
doi:10.1186/1752-2897-3-1
PMCID: PMC2646689  PMID: 19183451
10.  The Fracture Unit Concept 
The “fracture unit” is one of the possible ground-breaking responses to the health needs of our country’s growing elderly population, its aim being to achieve effective and efficient management of osteoporosis-induced fractures (mainly hip and vertebral, but also rib, radial, tibial and tarsal fractures), whose incidence peaks in the over-65s. The “fracture unit” concept is based on the principle of optimising, through a collaborative approach, the organisational frameworks of the different specialties involved in the management of the fracture patient (old or young, presenting serious risk factors for osteoporosis), simply by creating structured pathways that facilitate the establishment of stable synergies between the different specialists and shared protocols, specific for the different types of fracture. This model, based on the integration of different disciplinary sectors, is already used successfully in other specialist medical areas; furthermore, transverse integration of different care functions, on the basis of similarities defined by their common clinical objectives, is deemed feasible by current national and regional management guidelines. An “Integrated Functional Unit for Fragility Fractures” (fracture unit) could be created by intervening on a purely organisational level on existing structures, without the need to “invent” anything new and, above all, without generating costs.
The objective is thus to define and structure, a priori, a multidisciplinary pathway into which the patient with a fracture, on coming into contact with the healthcare provider, is automatically slotted. The patient’s case is thus taken on by the “fracture unit” to which he or she has been referred by the emergency department, by other inpatient services (residential or long-term inpatient facilities, etc.) or, from the local area, by general practitioners or specialist outpatient departments. In a structured pathway of this kind, in which different specialists are involved, the patient will no longer be the object of requests for consultations made at the discretion of the single duty physician, nor will he be “left to himself” following his or her discharge from hospital. Indeed, if it is essential to favour synergies within the context of the hospital care pathway, it is equally important to define a similar structured pathway of care for the patient also in the post-acute phase, i.e. to guarantee that the case is taken on by the local providers of social and healthcare services (particularly for rehabilitation and the supply of aids, prostheses or simple hip protectors) and by GPs, whose task it must be to reassess patients continually, monitoring their “compliance” with therapies and with the programme of specialist checkups.
To make a fracture unit fully operational it is necessary to pursue several organisational objectives: involvement of the emergency department, identification of the single specialists involved, definition of the diagnostic pathways and clinical protocols, creation of a team to be responsible for quality control of the care provided, for guaranteeing the necessary scientific updating, and for ensuring smooth links with local healthcare providers for patient follow up.
The fracture unit models already tested in other countries have been found to have a positive effect that can be measured in terms of reduced post-fracture complications, reduced mortality, shorter hospital stays and less need for further hospitalisations. Specifically, the adoption of a “fracture unit” model made it possible to reduce major complications (such as cognitive decline, bedsores, deep vein thrombosis and respiratory or cardio-circulatory complications) by between 21% and 45%, whereas hospital re-admissions at six months were reduced by 20% and mortality by 3%. In addition to the obvious health benefits, positive economic effects in terms of consumption of resources can be expected, deriving from the reduction in complications and re-admissions to hospital. It thus amounts to optimisation of efficacy and efficiency, but also a drive to achieve more equal access to care and rehabilitation treatments. Indeed, activation of the “fracture unit” model should mean integration of the available services within a single hospital or “presidio ospedaliero ASL”. Logistically, this means that all the services are localised within the same hospital, but in sites separate from the orthopaedics/traumatology department to which the fragility fracture patient is admitted, reflecting the departmental organisation already provided for by current regulations.
PMCID: PMC3213822
11.  P24 - Geriatric Medicine: An Innovative Care Strategy in Orthopaedics and Traumatology 
For many years, the administration of the Careggi University Hospital (CUH), in agreement with the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Florence, has pressed for the creation of a department of general medicine within its othopaedic traumatology centre. In its decision n.243 of May 5, 2009, the administration of the CUH, along the lines of similar experiences already in place, set up a simple departmental unit (SDU) of geriatric medicine (GM) within the hospital’s department of orthopaedics.
The aim of this unit is to guarantee continuity of care to orthopaedics inpatients, through the identification of a specific care pathway for clinically unstable patients. The clinical activity carried out, mainly in the context of the provision of continuity of care, takes the form of daily consultancy. The SDU has a series of objectives, organisational (less postponement of surgery due to medical problems, better integration of healthcare through a multidisciplinary team, provision of internal medicine and geriatric consultancy to guarantee continuity of care), clinical (reduction of peri-operative medical complications and adverse events) and strategic (improvement of the quality of geriatric and internal medicine care, better communication with patients and families). The unit strives to exploit to the full the multi-professional (doctors, rehabilitation therapists, registered nurses, social workers) and interdisciplinary (internal medicine, geriatrics, orthopaedics, physical medicine, anaesthesiology, cardiology, angiology etc.) intervention and, in the fragile elderly, applies a multi-dimensional geriatric assessment instrument.
Clinical activity:
The physicians working in the GM SDU provide daily consultancy, including Saturday mornings. Constant telephone contact is available, also on Sundays and holidays.
In the period from 1/9/2009 to 31/7/2010, a total of 1867 consultancies were provided, spread over 268 days, which corresponds to a mean of 6.97 examinations/day. Of these, 652 (34.92%) were first visits and 1215 (65.08%) were follow ups. The assessments were always conducted in a spirit of multi-professional and multidisciplinary collaboration.
The assessments were carried out in the following departments: general orthopaedics II (25.98%), general orthopaedics I (21.26%), general orthopaedics III (18.26%), traumatology-orthopaedics (13.55%), orthopaedic oncology and reconstruction (11.25%) as well as, in smaller percentages, in all the other SDUs of the orthopaedics department, in the neurosurgery department, the plastic surgery department and the spinal unit.
In particular, internal and geriatric medicine consultancy for patients was requested in connection with high levels of co-morbidity, polypharmacy regimens, acute confusional state, dehydration, hydro-electrolytic disorders, uncompensated type 2 diabetes mellitus, pulmonary embolism, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, pneumonia and bronchitis causing respiratory insufficiency, decompensated congestive heart failure, targeted antibiotic therapy, chronic renal insufficiency, and management of anti-aggregant and anticoagulant therapies.
Positive aspects: the clinical assessments were made using a multidisciplinary approach, based on the fundamental collaboration of specialists in orthopaedics, anaesthesiology-resuscitation, angiology, cardiology, radiology and physical medicine; excellent collaboration with services (radiology, neuroradiology, angiology, cardiology, etc.).
Negative aspects: constant difficulties transferring clinically unstable patients to the hospital’s medical specialty SDUs due to lack of beds; lack of intermediate care beds as a sort of “buffer” between the intensive care and inpatient departments; scope for improving the internal medicine skills of the nursing staff.
Research projects:
In synergy the hospital’s other SDUs, the GM SDU takes part in projects aiming to improve care and clinical management. It currently has collaborations with the geriatrics clinic, regional centre of reference for haemostasis and thrombosis, the bone metabolism clinic, the orthopaedics clinics, the geriatrics agency, the radiology service, the continuity-of-care agency, the clinical management, and the general affairs unit. Furthermore, on the instigation of the regional health council, a working group has recently been set up on the reorganisation of the “Care pathway of elderly patients with proximal femur fracture (orthogeriatrics)”.
Prospects for implementation and improvement:
The aims of the “Project to reorganise and upgrade the orthopaedics and traumatology centre of the Careggi University Hospital” include: the institution of a medical geriatrics department providing medium and high intensity of care; the presence, 24 hours/day, of a specialist from the medical area in the traumatology open space; the involvement of the internal medicine specialist in pre-hospitalisation procedures.
PMCID: PMC3213796
12.  Associations between Stroke Mortality and Weekend Working by Stroke Specialist Physicians and Registered Nurses: Prospective Multicentre Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(8):e1001705.
In a multicenter observational study, Benjamin Bray and colleagues evaluate whether weekend rounds by stroke specialist physicians, or the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends, is associated with patient mortality after stroke.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Observational studies have reported higher mortality for patients admitted on weekends. It is not known whether this “weekend effect” is modified by clinical staffing levels on weekends. We aimed to test the hypotheses that rounds by stroke specialist physicians 7 d per week and the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends are associated with mortality after stroke.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective cohort study of 103 stroke units (SUs) in England. Data of 56,666 patients with stroke admitted between 1 June 2011 and 1 December 2012 were extracted from a national register of stroke care in England. SU characteristics and staffing levels were derived from cross-sectional survey. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of 30-d post-admission mortality, adjusting for case mix, organisational, staffing, and care quality variables. After adjusting for confounders, there was no significant difference in mortality risk for patients admitted to a stroke service with stroke specialist physician rounds fewer than 7 d per week (adjusted HR [aHR] 1.04, 95% CI 0.91–1.18) compared to patients admitted to a service with rounds 7 d per week. There was a dose–response relationship between weekend nurse/bed ratios and mortality risk, with the highest risk of death observed in stroke services with the lowest nurse/bed ratios. In multivariable analysis, patients admitted on a weekend to a SU with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had an estimated adjusted 30-d mortality risk of 15.2% (aHR 1.18, 95% CI 1.07–1.29) compared to 11.2% for patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds (aHR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77–0.93), equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions. The main limitation is the risk of confounding from unmeasured characteristics of stroke services.
Conclusions
Mortality outcomes after stroke are associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses but not 7-d/wk ward rounds by stroke specialist physicians. The findings have implications for quality improvement and resource allocation in stroke care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In a perfect world, a patient admitted to hospital on a weekend or during the night should have as good an outcome as a patient admitted during regular working hours. But several observational studies (investigations that record patient outcomes without intervening in any way; clinical trials, by contrast, test potential healthcare interventions by comparing the outcomes of patients who are deliberately given different treatments) have reported that admission on weekends is associated with a higher mortality (death) rate than admission on weekdays. This “weekend effect” has led to calls for increased medical and nursing staff to be available in hospitals during the weekend and overnight to ensure that the healthcare provided at these times is of equal quality to that provided during regular working hours. In the UK, for example, “seven-day working” has been identified as a policy and service improvement priority for the National Health Service.
Why Was This Study Done?
Few studies have actually tested the relationship between patient outcomes and weekend physician or nurse staffing levels. It could be that patients who are admitted to hospital on the weekend have poor outcomes because they are generally more ill than those admitted on weekdays. Before any health system introduces potentially expensive increases in weekend staffing levels, better evidence that this intervention will improve patient outcomes is needed. In this prospective cohort study (a study that compares the outcomes of groups of people with different baseline characteristics), the researchers ask whether mortality after stroke is associated with weekend working by stroke specialist physicians and registered nurses. Stroke occurs when the brain's blood supply is interrupted by a blood vessel in the brain bursting (hemorrhagic stroke) or being blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). Swift treatment can limit the damage to the brain caused by stroke, but of the 15 million people who have a stroke every year, about 6 million die within a few hours and another 5 million are left disabled.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted clinical data on 56,666 patients who were admitted to stroke units in England over an 18-month period from a national stroke register. They obtained information on the characteristics and staffing levels of the stroke units from a biennial survey of hospitals admitting patients with stroke, and information on deaths among patients with stroke from the national register of deaths. A quarter of the patients were admitted on a weekend, almost half the stroke units provided stroke specialist physician rounds seven days per week, and the remainder provided rounds five days per week. After adjustment for factors that might have affected outcomes (“confounders”) such as stroke severity and the level of acute stroke care available in each stroke unit, there was no significant difference in mortality risk between patients admitted to a stroke unit with rounds seven days/week and patients admitted to a unit with rounds fewer than seven days/week. However, patients admitted on a weekend to a stroke unit with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had a 30-day mortality risk of 15.2%, whereas patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds had a mortality risk of 11.2%, a mortality risk difference equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the provision of stroke specialist physician rounds seven days/week in stroke units in England did not influence the (weak) association between weekend admission for stroke and death recorded in this study, but mortality outcomes after stroke were associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the measure used to judge the level of acute care available in each stroke unit and by residual confounding. For example, patients admitted to units with lower nursing levels may have shared other unknown characteristics that increased their risk of dying after stroke. Moreover, this study considered the impact of staffing levels on mortality only and did not consider other relevant outcomes such as long-term disability. Despite these limitations, these findings support the provision of higher weekend ratios of registered nurses to beds in stroke units, but given the high costs of increasing weekend staffing levels, it is important that controlled trials of different models of physician and nursing staffing are undertaken as soon as possible.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001705.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Meeta Kerlin
Information about plans to introduce seven-day working into the National Health Service in England is available; the 2013 publication “NHS Services—Open Seven Days a Week: Every Day Counts” provides examples of how hospitals across England are working together to provide routine healthcare services seven days a week; a “Behind the Headlines” article on the UK National Health Service Choices website describes a recent observational study that investigated the association between admission to hospital on the weekend and death, and newspaper coverage of the study's results; the Choices website also provides information about stroke for patients and their families, including personal stories
A US nurses' site includes information on the association of nurse staffing with patient safety
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); its Know Stroke site provides educational materials about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, including personal stories (in English and Spanish); the US National Institute of Health SeniorHealth website has additional information about stroke
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families, and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001705
PMCID: PMC4138029  PMID: 25137386
13.  Trauma care — a participant observer study of trauma centers at Delhi, Lucknow and Mumbai 
The Indian Journal of Surgery  2009;71(3):133-141.
Background
Trained doctors and para-medical personnel in accident and emergency services are scant in India. Teaching and training in trauma and emergency medical system (EMS) as a specialty accredited by the Medical Council of India is yet to be started as a postgraduate medical education program. The MI and CMO (casualty medical officer) rooms at military and civilian hospitals in India that practice triage, first-aid, medico-legal formalities, reference and organize transport to respective departments leads to undue delays and lack multidisciplinary approach. Comprehensive trauma and emergency infrastructure were created only at a few cities and none in the rural areas of India in last few years.
Aim
To study the infrastructure, human resource allocation, working, future plans and vision of the established trauma centers at the 3 capital cities of India — Delhi (2 centres), Lucknow and Mumbai.
Setting and design
Participant observer structured open ended qualitative research by 7 days direct observation of the facilities and working of above trauma centers.
Material and methods
Information on, 1. Infrastructure; space and building, operating, ventilator, and diagnostic and blood bank facilities, finance and costs and pre-hospital care infrastructure, 2. Human resource; consultant and resident doctors, para-medical staff and specialists and 3. Work style; first responder, type of patients undertaken, burn management, surgical management and referral system, follow up patient management, social support, bereavement and postmortem services were recorded on a pre-structured open ended instrument interviewing the officials, staff and by direct observation. Data were compressed, peer-analyzed as for qualitative research and presented in explicit tables.
Results
Union and state governments of Delhi, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have spent heavily to create trauma and emergency infrastructure in their capital cities. Mostly general and orthopedics surgeons with their resident staff were managing the facilities. Comprehensively trained accident and emergency (AandE) personnel were not available at any of the centers. Expert management of cardiac peri-arrest arrhythmias, peripheral and microvascular repair were occasionally available. Maxillo-facial, dental and prosthodontic facilities, evenomation grading and treatment of poisoning — anti venom were not integrated. Ventilators, anesthetist, neuro and plastic surgeons were available on call for emergency care at all the 4 centers. Emergency diagnostic radiology (X-ray, CT scan, and ultrasound) and pathology were available at all the 4 centers. On the spot blood bank and component blood therapy was available only at the Delhi centers. Pre-hospital care, though envisioned by the officials, was lacking. Comprehensively trained senior A and E personnel as first responders were unavailable. Double barrier nursing for burn victims was not witnessed. Laparoscopic and fibreoptic endoscopic emergency procedures were also available only at Delhi. Delay in treatment on account of incomplete medico-legal formalities was not seen. Social and legal assistance, bereavement service and cold room for dead body were universally absent. Free treatment at Delhi and partial financial support at Lucknow were available for poor and destitute.
Conclusion
Though a late start, evolution of trauma services was observed and huge infrastructure for trauma have come up at Delhi and Lucknow. Postgraduate accreditation in Trauma and EMS and creation of National Injury Control Program must be mandated to improve trauma care in India. Integration of medical, non traumatic surgical and pediatric emergency along with pre-hospital care is recommended.
doi:10.1007/s12262-009-0037-0
PMCID: PMC3452474  PMID: 23133136
Trauma Care; India; Trauma Centers; Participant observer
14.  Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this analysis was to compare hospital-at-home care with inpatient hospital care for patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who present to the emergency department (ED).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease state characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. This airflow limitation is usually both progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases. The natural history of COPD involves periods of acute-onset worsening of symptoms, particularly increased breathlessness, cough, and/or sputum, that go beyond normal day-to-day variations; these are known as acute exacerbations.
Two-thirds of COPD exacerbations are caused by an infection of the tracheobronchial tree or by air pollution; the cause in the remaining cases is unknown. On average, patients with moderate to severe COPD experience 2 or 3 exacerbations each year.
Exacerbations have an important impact on patients and on the health care system. For the patient, exacerbations result in decreased quality of life, potentially permanent losses of lung function, and an increased risk of mortality. For the health care system, exacerbations of COPD are a leading cause of ED visits and hospitalizations, particularly in winter.
Technology
Hospital-at-home programs offer an alternative for patients who present to the ED with an exacerbation of COPD and require hospital admission for their treatment. Hospital-at-home programs provide patients with visits in their home by medical professionals (typically specialist nurses) who monitor the patients, alter patients’ treatment plans if needed, and in some programs, provide additional care such as pulmonary rehabilitation, patient and caregiver education, and smoking cessation counselling.
There are 2 types of hospital-at-home programs: admission avoidance and early discharge hospital-at-home. In the former, admission avoidance hospital-at-home, after patients are assessed in the ED, they are prescribed the necessary medications and additional care needed (e.g., oxygen therapy) and then sent home where they receive regular visits from a medical professional. In early discharge hospital-at-home, after being assessed in the ED, patients are admitted to the hospital where they receive the initial phase of their treatment. These patients are discharged into a hospital-at-home program before the exacerbation has resolved. In both cases, once the exacerbation has resolved, the patient is discharged from the hospital-at-home program and no longer receives visits in his/her home.
In the models that exist to date, hospital-at-home programs differ from other home care programs because they deal with higher acuity patients who require higher acuity care, and because hospitals retain the medical and legal responsibility for patients. Furthermore, patients requiring home care services may require such services for long periods of time or indefinitely, whereas patients in hospital-at-home programs require and receive the services for a short period of time only.
Hospital-at-home care is not appropriate for all patients with acute exacerbations of COPD. Ineligible patients include: those with mild exacerbations that can be managed without admission to hospital; those who require admission to hospital; and those who cannot be safely treated in a hospital-at-home program either for medical reasons and/or because of a lack of, or poor, social support at home.
The proposed possible benefits of hospital-at-home for treatment of exacerbations of COPD include: decreased utilization of health care resources by avoiding hospital admission and/or reducing length of stay in hospital; decreased costs; increased health-related quality of life for patients and caregivers when treated at home; and reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections in this susceptible patient population.
Ontario Context
No hospital-at-home programs for the treatment of acute exacerbations of COPD were identified in Ontario. Patients requiring acute care for their exacerbations are treated in hospitals.
Research Question
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of hospital-at-home care compared with inpatient hospital care of acute exacerbations of COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on August 5, 2010, using OVID MEDLINE, OVID MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Wiley Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database for studies published from January 1, 1990, to August 5, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists and health technology assessment websites were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the systematic search.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-text reports;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs);
studies performed exclusively in patients with a diagnosis of COPD or studies including patients with COPD as well as patients with other conditions, if results are reported for COPD patients separately;
studies performed in patients with acute exacerbations of COPD who present to the ED;
studies published between January 1, 1990, and August 5, 2010;
studies comparing hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for patients with acute exacerbations of COPD;
studies that include at least 1 of the outcomes of interest (listed below).
Cochrane Collaboration reviews have defined hospital-at-home programs as those that provide patients with active treatment for their acute exacerbation in their home by medical professionals for a limited period of time (in this case, until the resolution of the exacerbation). If a hospital-at-home program had not been available, these patients would have been admitted to hospital for their treatment.
Exclusion Criteria
< 18 years of age
animal studies
duplicate publications
grey literature
Outcomes of Interest
Patient/clinical outcomes
mortality
lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second)
health-related quality of life
patient or caregiver preference
patient or caregiver satisfaction with care
complications
Health system outcomes
hospital readmissions
length of stay in hospital and hospital-at-home
ED visits
transfer to long-term care
days to readmission
eligibility for hospital-at-home
Statistical Methods
When possible, results were pooled using Review Manager 5 Version 5.1; otherwise, results were summarized descriptively. Data from RCTs were analyzed using intention-to-treat protocols. In addition, a sensitivity analysis was done assigning all missing data/withdrawals to the event. P values less than 0.05 were considered significant. A priori subgroup analyses were planned for the acuity of hospital-at-home program, type of hospital-at-home program (early discharge or admission avoidance), and severity of the patients’ COPD. Additional subgroup analyses were conducted as needed based on the identified literature. Post hoc sample size calculations were performed using STATA 10.1.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed, taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review: 1 health technology assessment, 5 systematic reviews, and 7 RCTs.
The following conclusions are based on low to very low quality of evidence. The reviewed evidence was based on RCTs that were inadequately powered to observe differences between hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for most outcomes, so there is a strong possibility of type II error. Given the low to very low quality of evidence, these conclusions must be considered with caution.
Approximately 21% to 37% of patients with acute exacerbations of COPD who present to the ED may be eligible for hospital-at-home care.
Of the patients who are eligible for care, some may refuse to participate in hospital-at-home care.
Eligibility for hospital-at-home care may be increased depending on the design of the hospital-at-home program, such as the size of the geographical service area for hospital-at-home and the hours of operation for patient assessment and entry into hospital-at-home.
Hospital-at-home care for acute exacerbations of COPD was associated with a nonsignificant reduction in the risk of mortality and hospital readmissions compared with inpatient hospital care during 2- to 6-month follow-up.
Limited, very low quality evidence suggests that hospital readmissions are delayed in patients who received hospital-at-home care compared with those who received inpatient hospital care (mean additional days before readmission comparing hospital-at-home to inpatient hospital care ranged from 4 to 38 days).
There is insufficient evidence to determine whether hospital-at-home care, compared with inpatient hospital care, is associated with improved lung function.
The majority of studies did not find significant differences between hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for a variety of health-related quality of life measures at follow-up. However, follow-up may have been too late to observe an impact of hospital-at-home care on quality of life.
A conclusion about the impact of hospital-at-home care on length of stay for the initial exacerbation (defined as days in hospital or days in hospital plus hospital-at-home care for inpatient hospital and hospital-at-home, respectively) could not be determined because of limited and inconsistent evidence.
Patient and caregiver satisfaction with care is high for both hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care.
PMCID: PMC3384361  PMID: 23074420
15.  Error, stress, and teamwork in medicine and aviation: cross sectional surveys 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2000;320(7237):745-749.
Objectives:
To survey operating theatre and intensive care unit staff about attitudes concerning error, stress, and teamwork and to compare these attitudes with those of airline cockpit crew.
Design:
Cross sectional surveys.
Setting:
Urban teaching and non-teaching hospitals in the United States, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Major airlines around the world.
Participants:
1033 doctors, nurses, fellows, and residents working in operating theatres and intensive care units and over 30 000 cockpit crew members (captains, first officers, and second officers).
Main outcome measures:
Perceptions of error, stress, and teamwork.
Results:
Pilots were least likely to deny the effects of fatigue on performance (26% v 70% of consultant surgeons and 47% of consultant anaesthetists). Most pilots (97%) and intensive care staff (94%) rejected steep hierarchies (in which senior team members are not open to input from junior members), but only 55% of consultant surgeons rejected such hierarchies. High levels of teamwork with consultant surgeons were reported by 73% of surgical residents, 64% of consultant surgeons, 39% of anaesthesia consultants, 28% of surgical nurses, 25% of anaesthetic nurses, and 10% of anaesthetic residents. Only a third of staff reported that errors are handled appropriately at their hospital. A third of intensive care staff did not acknowledge that they make errors. Over half of intensive care staff reported that they find it difficult to discuss mistakes.
Conclusions:
Medical staff reported that error is important but difficult to discuss and not handled well in their hospital. Barriers to discussing error are more important since medical staff seem to deny the effect of stress and fatigue on performance. Further problems include differing perceptions of teamwork among team members and reluctance of senior theatre staff to accept input from junior members.
PMCID: PMC27316  PMID: 10720356
16.  Snapshot view of emergency neurosurgical head injury care in Great Britain and Ireland 
OBJECTIVES—To study the availability of neurosurgical intensive care for the traumatically brain injured in all 36 neurosurgical centres in the United Kingdom and Ireland receiving head injuries, the response times to referral, and the advice given to the referring hospitals.
METHODS—Telephone survey of receiving neurosurgeons regarding their bed status and their advice on three hypothetical case scenarios. Outcome measures included response times for an acute head injury to be accepted to a neurosurgical centre; the intensive care bed status; variations in advice given to the referring hospitals with regard to ventilation, use of mannitol, steroids, anticonvulsants, and antibiotics.
RESULTS—There were 43 neurosurgical intensive care beds available for an overall estimated population of 63.6 million. There were 1.8 beds available/million of the population for non-ventilated patients, 0.64 beds available/million for ventilated patients, and 0.55 beds available/million for ventilated paediatric patients. London had a shortage of beds with 0.19 adult beds for ventilation/million north of the Thames and 0.14 adult beds for ventilation/million south of the Thames. The median response time for a patient with an extradural haematoma to be accepted for transfer was 6 minutes and 89% of such a referral was accepted within 30 minutes. Clinically significant delays in receiving referrals (over 30 minutes) occurred in four units. Practices regarding the use of hyperventilation, mannitol, anticonvulsants, and antibiotics showed little conformity and in some cases were against the available evidence and advice given by published guidelines.
CONCLUSIONS—There is a severe shortage of available emergency neurosurgical beds especially in the south east of England. The lack of immediately available neurosurgical intensive care beds results in delays of transfer that could adversely affect the outcome of surgery for traumatic intracranial haematoma. Advice given to the referring units by the receiving doctors is very variable.


doi:10.1136/jnnp.68.1.8
PMCID: PMC1760592  PMID: 10601392
17.  Hypercapnic cerebral edema presenting in a woman with asthma: a case report 
Introduction
Common causes of non-traumatic acute cerebral edema include malignant hypertension, hyponatremia, anoxia, and cerebral vascular accident. The computed tomographic images and data obtained during care of the patient described in this case report provide evidence that hypercarbia can cause increased intracranial pressure and coma without permanent brain injury. Partial pressure of carbon dioxide evaluation for coma is essential to provide faster diagnosis and therapeutic correction in certain common critical disease states. We present the case of a patient in a coma associated with cerebral edema during a typical asthma exacerbation with hypercapnic respiratory failure.
Case presentation
An obese 63-year-old African American woman with asthma presented to our hospital with facial swelling and shortness of breath. Immediately following intubation for hypercapnic respiratory failure, she was noted to have a dilated, unresponsive right pupil. An emergent computed tomographic head scan revealed that she had increased intracranial pressure. A neurosurgeon agreed with the computed tomography interpretation and recommended no surgical intervention. The patient's respiratory acidosis was corrected with ventilatory management over several hours in the intensive care unit. Nine and one-half hours later a follow-up head computed tomographic scan was read as normal without cerebral edema. At 12 hours, the patient's right pupil was 5 mm in diameter and reactive. By 24 hours, her pupils were symmetrically equal and reactive. Her symptoms had improved, and she was extubated. A brain magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed no abnormalities.
Conclusion
Alteration of consciousness related to hypercapnia during respiratory failure is not generally thought to be related to cerebral edema. Respiratory acidosis resulting from hypercarbia is known to produce carbon dioxide narcosis and coma, but no current treatment algorithm suggests that rapid hypercapnia correction can be critical to neurologic outcome. To the best of our knowledge, our case is a unique example of the physiological changes that may occur in relation to arterial carbon dioxide concentration in the normal brain in the setting of typical hypercapnic respiratory failure. Correction of respiratory acidosis reversed the neurologic symptoms and physiology causing cerebral edema and coma in our patient. Rare similar cases have been sporadically reported in the medical literature, typically in children. Our case is also unusual in that rapid deterioration and clinical status were directly observed on simultaneous computed tomographic scans. Had this patient been found unresponsive, or had she had brief respiratory or cardiac arrest, the scan could have been interpreted as global anoxic injury leading to a different therapeutic course.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-192
PMCID: PMC3113998  PMID: 21599887
18.  Patterns, aetiology and risk factors of intimate partner violence-related injuries to head, neck and face in Chinese women 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:6.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) related injuries have been recognized among health care professionals. However, few studies have provided detailed information on injuries to the head, neck and face regions in Chinese women. As abused Chinese women are generally unwilling to disclose IPV and there are differences in socio-demographic characteristics, societal norms and behaviours, the women may exhibit different patterns, aetiology and risk factors of IPV-related HNF injuries. This study aims to examine the patterns of head, neck and face injuries presenting to Accident and Emergency departments, including the anatomical regions, types, severity, aetiology and demographic and non-demographic risk factors of injuries inflicted by intimate partners in Chinese context.
Methods
Medical charts of 223 women presented to the Accident and Emergency departments of two regional hospitals in Hong Kong between January 2010 and December 2011 were reviewed independently by two reviewers.
Results
Head, neck and face injuries remained the most common injuries found in abused Chinese women (77.6%), and punching with a fist was the most common aetiology (60.2%). In particular, punching with a fist was significantly associated on the upper third of the maxillofacial region (p = .01) and the back part of the head (p = .03). Moreover, cohabiting and separated women were more likely to have multiple injuries than those who were married (OR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.4, 7.8; OR = 2.1, 95% CI = .4, 11.9).
Conclusions
The findings enhance the understanding of head, neck and face injuries and inform clinicians about the linkage among injuries and risks in abused Chinese women.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-6
PMCID: PMC3893604  PMID: 24410868
Head injuries; Maxillofacial injuries; Intimate partner violence; Abused Chinese women
19.  Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this evidence-based analysis was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of multidisciplinary care (MDC) compared with usual care (UC, single health care provider) for the treatment of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive disorder with episodes of acute exacerbations associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Cigarette smoking is linked causally to COPD in more than 80% of cases. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is among the most common chronic diseases worldwide and has an enormous impact on individuals, families, and societies through reduced quality of life and increased health resource utilization and mortality.
The estimated prevalence of COPD in Ontario in 2007 was 708,743 persons.
Technology
Multidisciplinary care involves professionals from a range of disciplines, working together to deliver comprehensive care that addresses as many of the patient’s health care and psychosocial needs as possible.
Two variables are inherent in the concept of a multidisciplinary team: i) the multidisciplinary components such as an enriched knowledge base and a range of clinical skills and experiences, and ii) the team components, which include but are not limited to, communication and support measures. However, the most effective number of team members and which disciplines should comprise the team for optimal effect is not yet known.
Research Question
What is the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of MDC compared with UC (single health care provider) for the treatment of stable COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on July 19, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, OVID MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Wiley Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database, for studies published from January 1, 1995 until July 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search.
Inclusion Criteria
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, or randomized controlled trials
studies published between January 1995 and July 2010;
COPD study population
studies comparing MDC (2 or more health care disciplines participating in care) compared with UC (single health care provider)
Exclusion Criteria
grey literature
duplicate publications
non-English language publications
study population less than 18 years of age
Outcomes of Interest
hospital admissions
emergency department (ED) visits
mortality
health-related quality of life
lung function
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed, taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Six randomized controlled trials were obtained from the literature search. Four of the 6 studies were completed in the United States. The sample size of the 6 studies ranged from 40 to 743 participants, with a mean study sample between 66 and 71 years of age. Only 2 studies characterized the study sample in terms of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD stage criteria, and in general the description of the study population in the other 4 studies was limited. The mean percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (% predicted FEV1) among study populations was between 32% and 59%. Using this criterion, 3 studies included persons with severe COPD and 2 with moderate COPD. Information was not available to classify the population in the sixth study.
Four studies had MDC treatment groups which included a physician. All studies except 1 reported a respiratory specialist (i.e., respiratory therapist, specialist nurse, or physician) as part of the multidisciplinary team. The UC group was comprised of a single health care practitioner who may or may not have been a respiratory specialist.
A meta-analysis was completed for 5 of the 7 outcome measures of interest including:
health-related quality of life,
lung function,
all-cause hospitalization,
COPD-specific hospitalization, and
mortality.
There was only 1 study contributing to the outcome of all-cause and COPD-specific ED visits which precluded pooling data for these outcomes. Subgroup analyses were not completed either because heterogeneity was not significant or there were a small number of studies that were meta-analysed for the outcome.
Quality of Life
Three studies reported results of quality of life assessment based on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). A mean decrease in the SGRQ indicates an improvement in quality of life while a mean increase indicates deterioration in quality of life. In all studies the mean change score from baseline to the end time point in the MDC treatment group showed either an improvement compared with the control group or less deterioration compared with the control group. The mean difference in change scores between MDC and UC groups was statistically significant in all 3 studies. The pooled weighted mean difference in total SGRQ score was −4.05 (95% confidence interval [CI], −6.47 to 1.63; P = 0.001). The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as low for this outcome.
Lung Function
Two studies reported results of the FEV1 % predicted as a measure of lung function. A negative change from baseline infers deterioration in lung function and a positive change from baseline infers an improvement in lung function. The MDC group showed a statistically significant improvement in lung function up to 12 months compared with the UC group (P = 0.01). However this effect is not maintained at 2-year follow-up (P = 0.24). The pooled weighted mean difference in FEV1 percent predicted was 2.78 (95% CI, −1.82 to −7.37). The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as very low for this outcome indicating that an estimate of effect is uncertain.
Hospital Admissions
All-Cause
Four studies reported results of all-cause hospital admissions in terms of number of persons with at least 1 admission during the follow-up period. Estimates from these 4 studies were pooled to determine a summary estimate. There is a statistically significant 25% relative risk (RR) reduction in all-cause hospitalizations in the MDC group compared with the UC group (P < 0.001). The index of heterogeneity (I2) value is 0%, indicating no statistical heterogeneity between studies. The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as moderate for this outcome, indicating that further research may change the estimate of effect.
COPD-Specific Hospitalization
Three studies reported results of COPD-specific hospital admissions in terms of number of persons with at least 1 admission during the follow-up period. Estimates from these 3 studies were pooled to determine a summary estimate. There is a statistically significant 33% RR reduction in all-cause hospitalizations in the MDC group compared with the UC group (P = 0.002). The I2 value is 0%, indicating no statistical heterogeneity between studies. The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as moderate for this outcome, indicating that further research may change the estimate of effect.
Emergency Department Visits
All-Cause
Two studies reported results of all-cause ED visits in terms of number of persons with at least 1 visit during the follow-up period. There is a statistically nonsignificant reduction in all-cause ED visits when data from these 2 studies are pooled (RR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.31 to −1.33; P = 0.24). The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as very low for this outcome indicating that an estimate of effect is uncertain.
COPD-Specific
One study reported results of COPD-specific ED visits in terms of number of persons with at least 1 visit during the follow-up period. There is a statistically significant 41% reduction in COPD-specific ED visits when the data from these 2 studies are pooled (RR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.43−0.81; P < 0.001). The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as moderate for this outcome.
Mortality
Three studies reported the mortality during the study follow-up period. Estimates from these 3 studies were pooled to determine a summary estimate. There is a statistically nonsignificant reduction in mortality between treatment groups (RR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.52−1.27; P = 0.36). The I2 value is 19%, indicating low statistical heterogeneity between studies. All studies had a 12-month follow-up period. The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as low for this outcome.
Conclusions
Significant effect estimates with moderate quality of evidence were found for all-cause hospitalization, COPD-specific hospitalization, and COPD-specific ED visits (Table ES1). A significant estimate with low quality evidence was found for the outcome of quality of life (Table ES2). All other outcome measures were nonsignificant and supported by low or very low quality of evidence.
Summary of Dichotomous Data
Abbreviations: CI, confidence intervals; COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; n, number.
Summary of Continuous Data
Abbreviations: CI, confidence intervals; FEV1, forced expiratory volume in 1 second; n, number; SGRQ, St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire.
PMCID: PMC3384374  PMID: 23074433
20.  Outcome after severe head injury: focal surgical lesions do not imply a better Glasgow Outcome Score than diffuse injuries at 3 months 
Background
Historically neurosurgeons have accepted head injured patients only in the presence of a mass lesion requiring surgical decompression. Underpinning this is an assumption that these patients have a better outcome than patients without a surgical lesion. This has meant that many patients without a surgical lesion have been managed locally in the referring hospital. However, there is now evidence that treatment of all head injured patients in a specialist centre leads to improved outcomes. Therefore, we have asked the question: does the presence of a surgical lesion imply better outcome from severe head injury?
Results
We prospectively recorded the Glasgow Outcome score (GOS), at 3 months, of all the severely head injured patients treated at our institution over a two and a half year period. Of 116 patients admitted with an initial Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) of 8 or less, 58 had surgical lesions and 58 non-surgical head injuries. The two groups were well matched for presenting GCS and age. Overall our favourable outcome rate (GOS 4 and 5) at 3-months for the patients with a surgical lesion and for the non-surgical group were 47.3% and 46.6% respectively, with no significant difference between the two (P = 0.54).
Conclusion
The assumption in the past has always been that patients presenting in coma from traumatic diffuse brain injury will do worse than those that have a mass lesion amenable to surgical decompression. Our series would suggest that this is not the case and all severely head injured patients should expect similar outcome when cared for in a neuroscience centre.
doi:10.1186/1752-2897-3-5
PMCID: PMC2670292  PMID: 19344513
21.  Prudent care of head trauma in the elderly: a case report 
Introduction
Severe traumatic brain injury is a major public health problem that accounts for one-third of all deaths due to trauma in the United States. This case report illustrates some of the challenges faced by the elderly in accessing essential emergency services for traumatic brain injury.
Case presentation
A 74-year-old Caucasian man presented with head trauma at his local acute care hospital (level III/IV) in Canada at 2:30 PM. He was triaged at 4:00 PM and was seen by the emergency room physician at 4:50 PM. His vital signs were normal, and his Glasgow Coma Scale score was 15/15 upon admission. A computed tomography–based diagnosis of acute subdural hematoma was subsequently made by a radiologist at 5:00 PM. A neurosurgical transfer was requested to the nearby tertiary trauma center (level I/II), but was initially refused by the neurosurgical resident on call. The patient’s condition slowly deteriorated until he became unconscious at 7:45 PM. The patient was intubated and transferred to the neurosurgical unit at 8:34 PM. He was seen by a consultant neurosurgeon at 9:30 PM, but surgery (craniotomy) was deemed not viable, given the patient’s age and the fact that his pupils were now fixed and dilated (Glasgow Coma Scale score 3/15). The patient was taken off life support at 1:00 AM the following morning and died shortly thereafter. The patient’s family made a formal complaint, but the decision by an independent medical review panel was that “the patient’s care was prudent, timely and professional.”
Conclusions
Geriatric patients with severe head injury are less likely than their younger counterparts to be transferred to neurosurgical trauma centers. Protocol-driven care of the elderly can reduce mortality due to head trauma through the application of the Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-8-448
PMCID: PMC4307970  PMID: 25526744
Elderly; Health disparities; Health policy; Traumatic brain injury
22.  Predicting Outcome after Traumatic Brain Injury: Development and International Validation of Prognostic Scores Based on Admission Characteristics 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(8):e165.
Background
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability. A reliable prediction of outcome on admission is of great clinical relevance. We aimed to develop prognostic models with readily available traditional and novel predictors.
Methods and Findings
Prospectively collected individual patient data were analyzed from 11 studies. We considered predictors available at admission in logistic regression models to predict mortality and unfavorable outcome according to the Glasgow Outcome Scale at 6 mo after injury. Prognostic models were developed in 8,509 patients with severe or moderate TBI, with cross-validation by omission of each of the 11 studies in turn. External validation was on 6,681 patients from the recent Medical Research Council Corticosteroid Randomisation after Significant Head Injury (MRC CRASH) trial. We found that the strongest predictors of outcome were age, motor score, pupillary reactivity, and CT characteristics, including the presence of traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage. A prognostic model that combined age, motor score, and pupillary reactivity had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) between 0.66 and 0.84 at cross-validation. This performance could be improved (AUC increased by approximately 0.05) by considering CT characteristics, secondary insults (hypotension and hypoxia), and laboratory parameters (glucose and hemoglobin). External validation confirmed that the discriminative ability of the model was adequate (AUC 0.80). Outcomes were systematically worse than predicted, but less so in 1,588 patients who were from high-income countries in the CRASH trial.
Conclusions
Prognostic models using baseline characteristics provide adequate discrimination between patients with good and poor 6 mo outcomes after TBI, especially if CT and laboratory findings are considered in addition to traditional predictors. The model predictions may support clinical practice and research, including the design and analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Ewout Steyerberg and colleagues describe a prognostic model for the prediction of outcome of traumatic brain injury using data available on admission.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes a large amount of morbidity and mortality worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, for example, about 1.4 million Americans will sustain a TBI—a head injury—each year. Of these, 1.1 million will be treated and released from an emergency department, 235,000 will be hospitalized, and 50,000 will die. The burden of disease is much higher in the developing world, where the causes of TBI such as traffic accidents occur at higher rates and treatment may be less available.
Why Was This Study Done?
Given the resources required to treat TBI, a very useful research tool would be the ability to accurately predict on admission to hospital what the outcome of a given injury might be. Currently, scores such as the Glasgow Coma Scale are useful to predict outcome 24 h after the injury but not before.
Prognostic models are useful for several reasons. Clinically, they help doctors and patients make decisions about treatment. They are also useful in research studies that compare outcomes in different groups of patients and when planning randomized controlled trials. The study presented here is one of a number of analyses done by the IMPACT research group over the past several years using a large database that includes data from eight randomized controlled trials and three observational studies conducted between 1984 and 1997. There are other ongoing studies that also seek to develop new prognostic models; one such recent study was published in BMJ by a group involving the lead author of the PLoS Medicine paper described here.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The authors analyzed data that had been collected prospectively on individual patients from the 11 studies included in the database and derived models to predict mortality and unfavorable outcome at 6 mo after injury for the 8,509 patients with severe or moderate TBI. They found that the strongest predictors of outcome were age, motor score, pupillary reactivity, and characteristics on the CT scan, including the presence of traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage. A core prognostic model could be derived from the combination of age, motor score, and pupillary reactivity. A better score could be obtained by adding CT characteristics, secondary problems (hypotension and hypoxia), and laboratory measurements of glucose and hemoglobin. The scores were then tested to see how well they predicted outcome in a different group of patients—6,681 patients from the recent Medical Research Council Corticosteroid Randomisation after Significant Head Injury (MRC CRASH) trial.
What Do These Findings Mean?
In this paper the authors show that it is possible to produce prognostic models using characteristics collected on admission as part of routine care that can discriminate between patients with good and poor outcomes 6 mo after TBI, especially if the results from CT scans and laboratory findings are added to basic models. This paper has to be considered together with other studies, especially the paper mentioned above, which was recently published in the BMJ (MRC CRASH Trial Collaborators [2008] Predicting outcome after traumatic brain injury: practical prognostic models based on large cohort of international patients. BMJ 336: 425–429.). The BMJ study presented a set of similar, but subtly different models, with specific focus on patients in developing countries; in that case, the patients in the CRASH trial were used to produce the models, and the patients in the IMPACT database were used to verify one variant of the models. Unfortunately this related paper was not disclosed to us during the initial review process; however, during PLoS Medicine's subsequent consideration of this manuscript we learned of it. After discussion with the reviewers, we took the decision that the models described in the PLoS Medicine paper are sufficiently different from those reported in the other paper and as such proceeded with publication of the paper. Ideally, however, these two sets of models would have been reviewed and published side by side, so that readers could easily evaluate the respective merits and value of the two different sets of models in the light of each other. The two sets of models are, however, discussed in a Perspective article also published in PLoS Medicine (see below).
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050165.
This paper and the BMJ paper mentioned above are discussed further in a PLoS Medicine Perspective article by Andrews and Young
The TBI Impact site provides a tool to calculate the scores described in this paper
The CRASH trial, which is used to validate the scores mentioned here, has a Web site explaining the trial and its results
The R software, which was used for the prognostic analyses, is freely available
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has information on head injury
The WHO site on neurotrauma discusses head injury from a global perspective
The CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control gives statistics on head injury in the US and advice on prevention
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050165
PMCID: PMC2494563  PMID: 18684008
23.  Preschool Children with Head Injury: Comparing Injury Severity Measures And Clinical Care 
Pediatric nursing  2013;39(6):290-298.
The purpose of this study was to compare child, hospital course, and discharge characteristics by admitting unit, injury type, head Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS), and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), and test congruence of AIS and GCS categories. Chart data were collected from seven hospitals on 183 preschool children with head injury (90 admitted to PICU, 93 to general care unit). Injury events included falls (n = 89, 49%), hit by car (n = 35, 19%), motor vehicle crashes (n = 26, 14%), bicycle crashes (n = 12, 7%), and blunt traumas (n = 21, 11%). Most children (68%) had head injuries only, 20% had other fractures, 5% had organ damage, and 7% had all three. Injury severity was measured by head AIS and GCS scores. Treatments and procedures included tubes/lines, blood/blood products, and medications. Children with head injuries only had fewer hospital days, less severe head injuries, and near normal GCS scores. They were less likely to have tubes/lines and medications. Children were discharged with medications (61%) and medical equipment (14%). Five children were discharged to long-term care facilities, and five were discharged to rehabilitation facilities. Concordance of head AIS and GCS categories occurred for only 50 (28%) children. Although the GCS is the gold standard for identifying changes in neurological status, it was not as helpful in representing hospital care. Head AIS injury categories clustered children in more homogeneous groups and better represented hospital care. Head AIS categories are better indicators of injury severity and care provided than GCS. Head injury AIS score may be an important addition to GCS for guiding care.
PMCID: PMC4120249  PMID: 24640315
24.  BMI and Risk of Serious Upper Body Injury Following Motor Vehicle Crashes: Concordance of Real-World and Computer-Simulated Observations 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000250.
Shankuan Zhu and colleagues use computer crash simulations, as well as real-world data, to evaluate whether driver obesity is associated with greater risk of body injury in motor vehicle crashes.
Background
Men tend to have more upper body mass and fat than women, a physical characteristic that may predispose them to severe motor vehicle crash (MVC) injuries, particularly in certain body regions. This study examined MVC-related regional body injury and its association with the presence of driver obesity using both real-world data and computer crash simulation.
Methods and Findings
Real-world data were from the 2001 to 2005 National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System. A total of 10,941 drivers who were aged 18 years or older involved in frontal collision crashes were eligible for the study. Sex-specific logistic regression models were developed to analyze the associations between MVC injury and the presence of driver obesity. In order to confirm the findings from real-world data, computer models of obese subjects were constructed and crash simulations were performed. According to real-world data, obese men had a substantially higher risk of injury, especially serious injury, to the upper body regions including head, face, thorax, and spine than normal weight men (all p<0.05). A U-shaped relation was found between body mass index (BMI) and serious injury in the abdominal region for both men and women (p<0.05 for both BMI and BMI2). In the high-BMI range, men were more likely to be seriously injured than were women for all body regions except the extremities and abdominal region (all p<0.05 for interaction between BMI and sex). The findings from the computer simulation were generally consistent with the real-world results in the present study.
Conclusions
Obese men endured a much higher risk of injury to upper body regions during MVCs. This higher risk may be attributed to differences in body shape, fat distribution, and center of gravity between obese and normal-weight subjects, and between men and women.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide, accidents involving motor vehicles kill 1.2 million people and injure as many as 50 million people every year. Collisions between motor vehicles, between vehicles and stationary objects, or between vehicles and pedestrians are responsible for one in 50 deaths and are the 11th leading cause of death globally. Many factors contribute to the risk of motor traffic accidents and the likelihood of subsequent injury or death. These risk factors include vehicle design, vehicle speeds, road design, driver impairment through, for example, alcohol use, and other driver characteristics such as age. Faced with an ever-increasing death toll on their roads, many countries have introduced lower speed limits, mandatory seat belt use, and greater penalties for drunk driving to reduce the carnage. Road design and traffic management initiatives have also been introduced to try to reduce the incidence of road traffic accidents and cars now include many features that provide protection in crashes for their occupants such as airbags and crumple zones.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although these measures have reduced the number of crashes and casualties, a better understanding of the risk factors associated with motor vehicle crashes is needed to deal with this important public-health problem. Another major public-health problem is obesity—having excess body fat. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes but also contributes to the severity of motor vehicle crash injuries. Men with a high body mass index (an individual's weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared; a BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity) have a higher risk of death after a motor vehicle accident than men with a normal BMI (18.5–24.9). This association between death and obesity is not seen in women, however, possibly because men and women accumulate fat on different parts of their body and the resultant difference in body shape could affect how male and female bodies move during traffic collisions and how much protection existing car safety features afford them. In this study, therefore, the researchers investigated how driver obesity affects the risk of serious injuries in different parts of the body following real and simulated motor vehicle crashes in men and women.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted data about injuries and BMIs for nearly 11,000 adult men and women who were involved in a frontal motor vehicle collision between 2001 and 2005 from the Crashworthiness Data System of the US National Automotive Sampling System. They then used detailed statistical methods to look for associations between specific injuries and driver obesity. The researchers also constructed computer models of obese drivers and subjected these models to simulated crashes. Their analysis of the real-world data showed that obese men had a substantially higher risk of injury to the upper body (the head, face, chest, and spine) than men with a normal weight. Serious injury in the abdominal region was most likely at low and high BMIs for both men and women. Finally, obese men were more likely to be seriously injured than obese women for all body regions except the extremities and the abdominal region. The researchers' computer simulations confirmed many of these real-world findings.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that obese men have a higher risk of injury, particularly to their upper body, from motor vehicle crashes than men with a normal body weight or than obese women. The researchers suggest that this higher risk may be attributed to differences in body shape, fat distribution, and center of gravity between obese and normal weight individuals and between men and women. These findings, although limited by missing data, suggest that motor vehicle safety features should be adjusted to take into account the ongoing obesity epidemic. Currently, two-thirds of people in the US are overweight or obese, yet a crash test dummy with a normal BMI is still used during the design of car cabins. Finally, although more studies are needed to understand the biomechanical responses of the human body during vehicle collisions, the findings in this study could aid the identification of groups of people at particularly high risk of injury or death on the roads who could then be helped to reduce their risk.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000250.
Wikipedia has a page on traffic collision (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The World Health Organization has information about road traffic injuries as a public-health problem; its World report on road traffic injury prevention is available in several languages
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides detailed information about overweight and obesity (in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources about obesity (in English and Spanish)
The US National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System contains detailed data on thousands of US motor vehicle crashes
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000250
PMCID: PMC2846859  PMID: 20361024
25.  Epidemiology of workplace-related fall from height and cost of trauma care in Qatar 
Background:
This study was designed to identify the incidence, injury patterns, and actual medical costs of occupational-related falls in Qatar, in order to provide a reference for establishing fall prevention guidelines and recommendations.
Settings and Design:
Retrospective database registry review in Level 1 Trauma Center at Tertiary Hospital in Qatar.
Materials and Methods:
During a 12-month period between November 1st 2007 and October 31st 2008, construction workers who fell from height were enrolled. A database was designed to characterize demographics, injury severity score (ISS), total hospital length of stay, resource utilization, and cost of care.
Statistical Analysis:
Data were presented as proportions, mean ± standard deviation or median and range as appropriate. In addition, case fatality rate and cost analysis were obtained from the Biostatistics and finance departments of the same hospital.
Results:
There were 315 fall-related injuries, of which 298 were workplace related. The majority (97%) were male immigrants with mean age of 33 ± 11 years. The most common injuries were to the spine, head, and chest. Mean ISS was 16.4 ± 10. There was total of 29 deaths (17 pre-hospital and 12 in-hospital deaths) for a case fatality rate of 8.6%. Mean cost of care (rounded figures) included pre-hospital services Emergency Medical Services (EMS), trauma resuscitation room, radiology and imaging, operating room, intensive care unit care, hospital ward care, rehabilitation services, and total cost (123, 82, 105, 130, 496, 3048,434, and 4418 thousand United States Dollars (USD), respectively). Mean cost of care per admitted patient was approximately 16,000 USD.
Conclusions:
Falling from height at a construction site is a common cause of trauma that poses a significant financial burden on the health care system. Injury prevention efforts are warranted along with strict regulation and enforcement of occupational laws.
doi:10.4103/2229-5151.109408
PMCID: PMC3665115  PMID: 23724377
Cost of care; falls from height; Qatar; workplace

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