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1.  Defining pediatric traumatic brain injury using International Classification of Diseases Version 10 Codes: A systematic review 
BMC Neurology  2015;15:7.
Although healthcare administrative data are commonly used for traumatic brain injury (TBI) research, there is currently no consensus or consistency on the International Classification of Diseases Version 10 (ICD-10) codes used to define TBI among children and youth internationally. This study systematically reviewed the literature to explore the range of ICD-10 codes that are used to define TBI in this population. The identification of the range of ICD-10 codes to define this population in administrative data is crucial, as it has implications for policy, resource allocation, planning of healthcare services, and prevention strategies.
The databases MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process, Embase, PsychINFO, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were systematically searched. Grey literature was searched using Grey Matters and Google. Reference lists of included articles were also searched for relevant studies. Two reviewers independently screened all titles and abstracts using pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. A full text screen was conducted on articles that met the first screen inclusion criteria. All full text articles that met the pre-defined inclusion criteria were included for analysis in this systematic review.
A total of 1,326 publications were identified through the predetermined search strategy and 32 articles/reports met all eligibility criteria for inclusion in this review. Five articles specifically examined children and youth aged 19 years or under with TBI. ICD-10 case definitions ranged from the broad injuries to the head codes (ICD-10 S00 to S09) to concussion only (S06.0). There was overwhelming consensus on the inclusion of ICD-10 code S06, intracranial injury, while codes S00 (superficial injury of the head), S03 (dislocation, sprain, and strain of joints and ligaments of head), and S05 (injury of eye and orbit) were only used by articles that examined head injury, none of which specifically examined children and youth.
This review provides evidence for discussion on how best to use ICD codes for different goals. This is an important first step in reaching an appropriate definition and can inform future work on reaching consensus on the ICD-10 codes to define TBI for this vulnerable population.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12883-015-0259-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4335539  PMID: 25648197
Coding; International Classification of Diseases; Pediatric brain injury
2.  A systematic review protocol for measuring comorbidity in inpatient rehabilitation for non-traumatic brain injury 
Systematic Reviews  2015;4(1):14.
Comorbidity can affect health-care utilization and outcomes, and the results and interpretation of risk adjustment studies that attempt to predict rehabilitation utilization and outcomes are influenced by the choice of comorbidity measurement. Although the identification of an appropriate measurement has been conducted in some populations and outcomes, this information is currently lacking for the non-traumatic brain injury (nTBI) population in inpatient rehabilitation settings. As such, this is a systematic review protocol to survey the methods used to measure comorbidities in the rehabilitation setting for patients with nTBI.
MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process, Embase, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PsycINFO, and Health and Psychosocial Instruments will be systematically searched using the concepts ‘nTBI,’ ‘comorbidity,’ and ‘rehabilitation.’ Grey matters and the reference list of eligible articles will also be searched. Study selection will be performed independently by two reviewers based on predetermined eligibility criteria through two rounds of screening using, first, the title and abstract, followed by full-text. Extracted information will include study purpose, design, and setting; data source and type; outcomes variables; statistical methods; comorbidity measurement method, rationale, justification, or validation; and results involving comorbidity. The data will be tabulated and narratively synthesized. Meta-analyses will be performed if appropriate.
Systematic review registration
This protocol has not been registered with PROSPERO.
This protocol provides a systematic method for surveying current practice as well as monitoring the progress on comorbidity measurement methodology and effects of comorbidity on rehabilitation outcomes for patients with nTBI. The selection of an appropriate comorbidity measurement method has implications for the interpretation of both descriptive and risk adjustment studies, and thus, the validity of evidence used to inform planning and delivery of services.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2046-4053-4-14) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4328947  PMID: 25634135
Brain injury; Rehabilitation; Health services; Comorbidity; Risk adjustment; Epidemiology; Systematic review
3.  The Moderating Effects of Sex and Age on the Association between Traumatic Brain Injury and Harmful Psychological Correlates among Adolescents 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108167.
Although it is well established that sex is a risk factor in acquiring a traumatic brain injury (TBI) among adolescents, it has not been established whether it also moderates the influence of other TBI psychological health correlates.
Methods and Findings
Data were derived from a 2011 population-based cross-sectional school survey, which included 9,288 Ontario 7th–12th graders who completed anonymous self-administered questionnaires in classrooms. Response rate was 62%. Preliminary analyses found no evidence of nonresponse bias in the reporting of TBI. TBI was defined as a hit or blow to the head that resulted in a 5 minutes loss of consciousness or at least one overnight hospitalization due to symptoms associated with it. Reports of lifetime TBI were more common among males than females (23.1%, 95% CI: 20.5, 25.8 vs. 17.1%, 95% CI: 14.7, 19.8). Thirteen correlates were examined and included cigarette smoking, elevated psychological distress, suicide ideation, bully victimization (at school, as well as cyber bullying), bullying others, cannabis use, cannabis dependence and drug use problems, physical injuries, daily smoking, drinking alcohol, binge drinking, use of cannabis, and poor academic performance. Among the outcomes examined, sex moderated the relationship between lifetime TBI and cigarette smoking. In addition, sex and age jointly moderated the relationship between lifetime TBI and daily smoking, alcohol use and physical injuries. Late adolescent males who reported lifetime TBI, relative to females, displayed elevated daily smoking and injuries, whereas their females counterparts displayed elevated past year drinking. Possible bias related to self-report procedures and the preclusion of causal inferences due to the cross-sectional nature of the data are limitations of this study.
TBI differences in outcomes need to be assessed for potential moderating effects of sex and age. Results have important implications for more tailored injury prevention efforts.
PMCID: PMC4182663  PMID: 25268238
4.  Traumatic brain injury among men in an urban homeless shelter: observational study of rates and mechanisms of injury 
CMAJ Open  2014;2(2):E69-E76.
Little empiric research has investigated the interrelationship between homelessness and traumatic brain injury. The objectives of this study were to determine the rate, mechanisms and associated outcomes of traumatic brain injury among men in an urban homeless shelter.
We recruited participants from an urban men’s shelter in Toronto, Ontario. Researchers administered the Brain Injury Screening Questionnaire, a semistructured interview screening tool for brain injury. Demographic information and detailed histories of brain injuries were obtained. Participants with positive and negative screening results were compared, and the rates and mechanisms of injury were analyzed by age group.
A total of 111 men (mean age 54.2 ± standard deviation 11.5 yr; range 27–81 yr) participated. Nearly half (50 [45%]) of the respondents had a positive screening result for traumatic brain injury. Of these, 73% (35/48) reported experiencing their first injury before adulthood (< 18 yr), and 87% (40/46) reported a first injury before the onset of homelessness. Among those with a positive screening result, 33 (66%) reported sustaining at least one traumatic brain injury by assault, 22 (44%) by sports or another recreational activity, 21 (42%) by motor vehicle collision and 21 (42%) by a fall. A positive screening result was significantly associated with a lifetime history of arrest or mental illness and a parental history of substance abuse.
Multiple mechanisms contributed to high rates of traumatic brain injury within a sample of homeless men. Assault was the most common mechanism, with sports and recreation, motor vehicle collisions and falls also being reported frequently by the participants. Injury commonly predated the onset of homelessness, with most participants experiencing their first injury in childhood. Additional research is needed to understand the complex interactions among homelessness, traumatic brain injury, mental illness and substance use.
PMCID: PMC4084748  PMID: 25077132
5.  Improving Client-Centered Brain Injury Rehabilitation Through Research-Based Theater 
Qualitative health research  2012;22(12):1612-1632.
Traumatic brain injury often results in physical, behavioral, and cognitive impairments perceived by health care practitioners to limit or exclude clients’ full participation in treatment decision making. We used qualitative methods to evaluate the short- and long-term impact of “After the Crash: A Play About Brain Injury”, a research-based drama designed to teach client-centered care principles to brain injury rehabilitation staff. We conducted interviews and observations with staff of two inpatient neurorehabilitation units in Ontario, Canada. Findings demonstrate the effectiveness of the play in influencing practice through the avoidance of medical jargon to improve clients’ understanding and participation in treatment; newfound appreciation for clients’ needs for emotional expression and sexual intimacy; increased involvement of family caregivers; and avoidance of staff discussions as if clients were unaware. These findings suggest that research-based drama can effect reflexivity, empathy, and practice change to facilitate a client-centered culture of practice in brain injury rehabilitation.
PMCID: PMC3741155  PMID: 22941919 CAMSID: cams2676
brain injury; emotions/emotion work; health care; interprofessional; performance; research; qualitative
6.  Defining traumatic brain injury in children and youth using International Classification of Diseases version 10 codes: a systematic review protocol 
Systematic Reviews  2013;2:102.
Although healthcare administrative data are commonly used for traumatic brain injury research, there is currently no consensus or consistency on using the International Classification of Diseases version 10 codes to define traumatic brain injury among children and youth. This protocol is for a systematic review of the literature to explore the range of International Classification of Diseases version 10 codes that are used to define traumatic brain injury in this population.
The databases MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process, Embase, PsychINFO, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews will be systematically searched. Grey literature will be searched using Grey Matters and Google. Reference lists of included articles will also be searched. Articles will be screened using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria and all full-text articles that meet the predefined inclusion criteria will be included for analysis. The study selection process and reasons for exclusion at the full-text level will be presented using a PRISMA study flow diagram. Information on the data source of included studies, year and location of study, age of study population, range of incidence, and study purpose will be abstracted into a separate table and synthesized for analysis. All International Classification of Diseases version 10 codes will be listed in tables and the codes that are used to define concussion, acquired traumatic brain injury, head injury, or head trauma will be identified.
The identification of the optimal International Classification of Diseases version 10 codes to define this population in administrative data is crucial, as it has implications for policy, resource allocation, planning of healthcare services, and prevention strategies. It also allows for comparisons across countries and studies. This protocol is for a review that identifies the range and most common diagnoses used to conduct surveillance for traumatic brain injury in children and youth. This is an important first step in reaching an appropriate definition using International Classification of Diseases version 10 codes and can inform future work on reaching consensus on the codes to define traumatic brain injury for this vulnerable population.
PMCID: PMC3833640  PMID: 24219843
Children and youth; Definition; ICD-10; Prevention; Protocol; Systematic review; Traumatic brain injury
7.  Evaluating the impact of treatment for sleep/wake disorders on recovery of cognition and communication in adults with chronic TBI 
Brain Injury  2013;27(12):1364-1376.
To longitudinally examine objective and self-reported outcomes for recovery of cognition, communication, mood and participation in adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and co-morbid post-traumatic sleep/wake disorders.
Prospective, longitudinal, single blind outcome study.
Ten adults with moderate–severe TBI and two adults with mild TBI and persistent symptoms aged 18–58 years. Six males and six females, who were 1–22 years post-injury and presented with self-reported sleep/wake disturbances with onset post-injury.
Individualized treatments for sleep/wake disorders that included sleep hygiene recommendations, pharmacological interventions and/or treatments for sleep apnea with follow-up.
Main outcome measures
Insomnia Severity Index, Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories, Latrobe Communication Questionnaire, Speed and Capacity of Language Processing, Test of Everyday Attention, Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status, Daily Cognitive-Communication and Sleep Profile.
Group analysis revealed positive trends in change for each measure and across sub-tests of all measures. Statistically significant changes were noted in insomnia severity, p = 0.0003; depression severity, p = 0.03; language, p = 0.01; speed of language processing, p = 0.007.
These results add to a small but growing body of evidence that sleep/wake disorders associated with TBI exacerbate trauma-related cognitive, communication and mood impairments. Treatment for sleep/wake disorders may optimize recovery and outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3809926  PMID: 24070180
Cognition; communication; mood; outcomes; sleep disorders; traumatic brain injury
8.  Older adults with acquired brain injury: a population based study 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:97.
Acquired brain injury (ABI), which includes traumatic (TBI) and non-traumatic brain injury (nTBI), is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The objective of this study was to examine the trends, characteristics, cause of brain injury, and discharge destination of hospitalized older adults aged 65 years and older with an ABI diagnosis in a population with universal access to hospital care. The profile of characteristics of patients with TBI and nTBI causes of injury was also compared.
A population based retrospective cohort study design with healthcare administrative databases was used. Data on acute care admissions were obtained from the Discharge Abstract Database and patients were identified using the International Classification of Diseases – Version 10 codes for Ontario, Canada from April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2010. Older adults were examined in three age groups – 65 to 74, 75 to 84, and 85+ years.
From 2003/04 to 2009/10, there were 14,518 episodes of acute care associated with a TBI code and 51, 233 episodes with a nTBI code. Overall, the rate of hospitalized TBI and nTBI episodes increased with older age groups. From 2007/08 to 2009/10, the percentage of patients that stayed in acute care for 12 days or more and the percentage of patients with delayed discharge from acute care increased with age. The most common cause of TBI was falls while the most common type of nTBI was brain tumours. The percentage of patients discharged to long term care and complex continuing care increased with age and the percentage discharged home decreased with age. In-hospital mortality also increased with age. Older adults with TBI and nTBI differed significantly in demographic and clinical characteristics and discharge destination from acute care.
This study showed an increased rate of acute care admissions for both TBI and nTBI with age. It also provided additional support for falls prevention strategies to prevent injury leading to cognitive disability with costly human and economic consequences. Implications for increased numbers of people with ABI are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3849645  PMID: 24060144
Brain injury; Epidemiology; Outcomes
9.  Fatigue in adults with traumatic brain injury: predictors and consequences. A systematic review of longitudinal study protocols 
Systematic Reviews  2013;2:57.
Despite strong indications that fatigue is the most common and debilitating symptom after traumatic brain injury, little is known about its frequency, natural history, or relation to other factors. The current protocol outlines a strategy for a systematic review that will identify, assess, and critically appraise studies that assessed predictors for fatigue and the consequences of fatigue on at least two separate time points following traumatic brain injury.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CINAHL, and PsycINFO will be systematically searched for relevant peer-reviewed studies. Reference lists of eligible papers will also be searched. All English language studies with a longitudinal design that focus on fatigue in adults with primary-impact traumatic brain injury will be included. Studies on fatigue following brain injury due to secondary pathological processes (intracranial complications, edema, ischemia/infarction, and systemic intracranial conditions) will be excluded. Excluded studies, along with the reasons for exclusion will be reported. Two independent reviewers will conduct all levels of screening, data abstraction, and quality appraisal. Randomized control trial data will be treated as a cohort. The quality will be assessed using the criteria defined by Hayden and colleagues. The review will be conducted and reported in compliance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines.
The review will summarize the current knowledge in the field with the aim of increasing understanding and guiding future research on the associations between fatigue and clinically important factors, as well as the consequences of fatigue in traumatic brain injury. PROSPERO registry number: CRD42013004262.
PMCID: PMC3717139  PMID: 23842583
Post-traumatic fatigue; Traumatic brain injury; Rehabilitation; Protocol; Systematic review
10.  Acute Care Alternate-Level-of-Care Days Due to Delayed Discharge for Traumatic and Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries 
Healthcare Policy  2012;7(4):41-55.
Alternate-level-of-care (ALC) days represent hospital beds that are taken up by patients who would more appropriately be cared for in other settings. ALC days have been found to be costly and may result in worse functional outcomes, reduced motor skills and longer lengths of stay in rehabilitation. This study examines the factors that are associated with acute care ALC days among patients with acquired brain injury (ABI). We used the Discharge Abstract Database to identify patients with ABI using International Classification of Disease-10 codes. From fiscal years 2007/08 to 2009/10, 17.5% of patients with traumatic and 14% of patients with non-traumatic brain injury had at least one ALC day. Significant predictors include having a psychiatric co-morbidity, increasing age and length of stay in acute care. These findings can inform planning for care of people with ABI in a publicly funded healthcare system.
PMCID: PMC3359084  PMID: 23634162
11.  Traumatic brain injury among people who are homeless: a systematic review 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:1059.
Homelessness and poverty are important social problems, and reducing the prevalence of homelessness and the incidence of injury and illness among people who are homeless would have significant financial, societal, and individual implications. Recent research has identified high rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among this population, but to date there has not been a review of the literature on this topic. The objective of this systematic review was to review the current state of the literature on TBI and homelessness in order to identify knowledge gaps and direct future research.
A systematic literature search was conducted in PsycINFO (1887–2012), Embase (1947–2012), and MEDLINE/Pubmed (1966–2012) to identify all published research studies on TBI and homelessness. Data on setting, sampling, outcome measures, and rate of TBI were extracted from these studies.
Eight research studies were identified. The rate of TBI among samples of persons who were homeless varied across studies, ranging from 8%-53%. Across the studies there was generally little information to adequately describe the research setting, sample sizes were small and consisted mainly of adult males, demographic information was not well described, and validated screening tools were rarely used. The methodological quality of the studies included was generally moderate and there was little information to illustrate that the studies were adequately powered or that study samples were representative of the source population. There was also an absence of qualitative studies in the literature.
The rate of TBI is higher among persons who are homeless as compared to the general population. Both descriptive and interventional studies of individuals who are homeless should include a psychometrically sound measure of history of TBI and related disability. Education of caregivers of persons who are at risk of becoming, or are homeless, should involve training on TBI. Dissemination of knowledge to key stakeholders such as people who are homeless, their families, and public policy makers is also advocated.
PMCID: PMC3538158  PMID: 23216886
Traumatic brain injury; Homelessness; Systematic review
12.  The utility of administrative data for neurotrauma surveillance and prevention in Ontario, Canada 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:584.
Surveillance of neurotrauma events is necessary to guide the development and evaluation of effective injury prevention initiatives. The aim of this paper is to review potential sources of existing population-based data to inform neurotrauma prevention in Canada, using sources available in Ontario as an example. Data sources, including administrative data holdings from Ontario’s publicly funded health care system and ongoing national surveys, were reviewed to determine the degree of relevance for neurotrauma surveillance, using standards outlined by the World Health Organization as a framework.
Five key data sources were identified for neurotrauma surveillance. Five other sources were considered useful; cause of injury was not identifiable in 5 additional sources; and 4 sources were not relevant for surveillance purposes.
We provide information about which existing data sources are most relevant for neurotrauma surveillance and research, as well as examine the strengths and limitations of these sources. Administrative data can be used to facilitate surveillance of neurotrauma and are considered both useful and cost effective for the development and evaluation of injury prevention programs.
PMCID: PMC3532139  PMID: 23098419
Prevention; Surveillance; Spinal cord injuries; Brain injuries; Data sources
13.  Direct cost associated with acquired brain injury in Ontario 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:76.
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) from traumatic and non traumatic causes is a leading cause of disability worldwide yet there is limited research summarizing the health system economic burden associated with ABI. The objective of this study was to determine the direct cost of publicly funded health care services from the initial hospitalization to three years post-injury for individuals with traumatic (TBI) and non-traumatic brain injury (nTBI) in Ontario Canada.
A population-based cohort of patients discharged from acute hospital with an ABI code in any diagnosis position in 2004 through 2007 in Ontario was identified from administrative data. Publicly funded health care utilization was obtained from several Ontario administrative healthcare databases. Patients were stratified according to traumatic and non-traumatic causes of brain injury and whether or not they were discharged to an inpatient rehabilitation center. Health system costs were calculated across a continuum of institutional and community settings for up to three years after initial discharge. The continuum of settings included acute care emergency departments inpatient rehabilitation (IR) complex continuing care home care services and physician visits. All costs were calculated retrospectively assuming the government payer’s perspective.
Direct medical costs in an ABI population are substantial with mean cost in the first year post-injury per TBI and nTBI patient being $32132 and $38018 respectively. Among both TBI and nTBI patients those discharged to IR had significantly higher treatment costs than those not discharged to IR across all institutional and community settings. This tendency remained during the entire three-year follow-up period. Annual medical costs of patients hospitalized with a brain injury in Ontario in the first follow-up year were approximately $120.7 million for TBI and $368.7 million for nTBI. Acute care cost accounted for 46-65% of the total treatment cost in the first year overwhelming all other cost components.
The main finding of this study is that direct medical costs in ABI population are substantial and vary considerably by the injury cause. Although most expenses occur in the first follow-up year ABI patients continue to use variety of medical services in the second and third year with emphasis shifting over time from acute care and inpatient rehabilitation towards homecare physician services and long-term institutional care. More research is needed to capture economic costs for ABI patients not admitted to acute care.
PMCID: PMC3518141  PMID: 22901094
14.  Longitudinal Evaluation of Transition Services (“LETS Study”): Protocol for outcome evaluation 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:51.
Because of advances in medical treatment, most children with physical disabilities can expect to achieve near normal life spans. Typically, coordinated teams of health care providers in specialized pediatric settings care for these children. As these children reach adulthood, however, the availability of services and expertise changes because the adult health care system has different processes designed to meet their specialized needs. Gaps in continuity of care during the transition from pediatric to adult services, and associated poor health outcomes are well documented. In response, new models of care are being introduced to address the complex process of health care transition. This paper describes a study protocol of a client-centred, prospective, longitudinal, mixed-method evaluation of linked model of health care across the lifespan (the LIFEspan Model), offered by a pediatric rehabilitation centre and an adult rehabilitation centre.
This project will include a process and an outcome evaluation of the LIFEspan Model. The process evaluation will detail the specific service delivery that occurs with respect to preparation for transition and transfer of care through chart audits of pediatric medical records and qualitative interviews with LIFEspan staff. The outcome evaluation will measure the effect of the model on: 1) maintaining continuity within the health care system from pediatric to adult care; and 2) secondary outcomes related to health, well-being, social participation, transition readiness, and health care utilization of youth with cerebral palsy and acquired brain injury. Standardized instruments will include Health Utilities Inventory, Assessment of Life Habits, Arc’s Self-Determination, Assessment of Health-Related Quality of Life, Partners in Health Questionnaire, Social Support Questionnaire, and Self-Efficacy for Managing Chronic Disease.
The LETS study will be original in its undertaking of a prospective examination of outcomes 1-year post-transition, use of multiple comparison groups, and absence of disability-related exclusion criteria ensuring that the transition experiences of varied populations of young people and their families will be represented.
Trial registration, ID NCT00975338
PMCID: PMC3496583  PMID: 22587415
Transitions; Youth; Complex chronic conditions; Disability; Rehabilitation; Study protocol; Research methods
15.  Factors associated with discharge destination from acute care after acquired brain injury in Ontario, Canada 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:16.
The aim of this paper is to examine factors associated with discharge destination after acquired brain injury in a publicly insured population using the Anderson Behavioral Model as a framework.
We utilized a retrospective cohort design. Inpatient data from provincial acute care records from fiscal years 2003/4 to 2006/7 with a diagnostic code of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and non-traumatic brain injury (nTBI) in Ontario, Canada were obtained for the study. Using multinomial logistic regression models, we examined predisposing, need and enabling factors from inpatient records in relation to major discharge outcomes such as discharge to home, inpatient rehabilitation and other institutionalized care.
Multinomial logistic regression revealed that need factors were strongly correlated with discharge destinations overall. Higher scores on the Charlson Comorbidity Index were associated with discharge to other institutionalized care in the nTBI population. Length of stay and special care days were identified as markers for severity and were both strongly positively correlated with discharge to other institutionalized care and inpatient rehabilitation, compared to discharge home, in both nTBI and TBI populations. Injury by motor vehicle collisions was found to be positively correlated with discharge to inpatient rehabilitation and other institutionalized care for patients with TBI. Controlling for need factors, rural location was associated with discharge to home versus inpatient rehabilitation.
These findings show that need factors (Charlson Comorbidity Index, length of stay, and number of special care days) are most significant in terms of discharge destination. However, there is evidence that other factors such as rural location and access to supplemental insurance (e.g., through motor vehicle insurance) may influence discharge destination outcomes as well. These findings should be considered in creating more equitable access to healthcare services across the continuum of care.
PMCID: PMC3402989  PMID: 22443681
16.  Using geographical information systems mapping to identify areas presenting high risk for traumatic brain injury 
The aim of this study is to show how geographical information systems (GIS) can be used to track and compare hospitalization rates for traumatic brain injury (TBI) over time and across a large geographical area using population based data.
Results & Discussion
Data on TBI hospitalizations, and geographic and demographic variables, came from the Ontario Trauma Registry Minimum Data Set for the fiscal years 1993-1994 and 2001-2002. Various visualization techniques, exploratory data analysis and spatial analysis were employed to map and analyze these data. Both the raw and standardized rates by age/gender of the geographical unit were studied. Data analyses revealed persistent high rates of hospitalization for TBI resulting from any injury mechanism between two time periods in specific geographic locations.
This study shows how geographic information systems can be successfully used to investigate hospitalizaton rates for traumatic brain injury using a range of tools and techniques; findings can be used for local planning of both injury prevention and post discharge services, including rehabilitation.
PMCID: PMC3260231  PMID: 22054220
traumatic brain injury; geographic information systems; geographic visualization; spatial analysis
17.  Defining neurotrauma in administrative data using the International Classification of Diseases Tenth Revision 
It is essential to use a definition that is precise and accurate for the surveillance of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and spinal cord injuries (SCI). This paper reviews the International Classification of Diseases 10th revision (ICD-10) definitions used internationally to inform the definition for neurotrauma surveillance using administrative data in Ontario, Canada.
PubMed, Web of Science, Medline and the grey literature were searched for keywords "spinal cord injuries" or "brain injuries" and "international classification of diseases". All papers and reports that used an ICD-10 definition were included. To determine the ICD-10 codes for inclusion consensus across papers and additional evidence were sought to look at the correlation between the condition and brain or spinal injuries.
Twenty-four articles and reports were identified; 15 unique definitions for TBI and 7 for SCI were found. The definitions recommended for use in Ontario by this paper are F07.2, S02.0, S02.1, S02.3, S02.7, S02.8, S02.9, S06, S07.1, T90.2, and T90.5 for traumatic brain injuries and S14.0, S14.1, S24.0, S24.1, S34.1, S34.0, S34.3, T06.0, T06.1 and T91.3 for spinal cord injuries.
Internationally, inconsistent definitions are used to define brain and spinal cord injuries. An abstraction study of data would be an asset in understanding the effects of inclusion and exclusion of codes in the definition. This paper offers a definition of neurotrauma for surveillance in Ontario, but the definition could be applied to other countries that have mandated administrative data collection.
PMCID: PMC3121731  PMID: 21569640
18.  Living Environments for People with Moderate to Severe Acquired Brain Injury 
Healthcare Policy  2010;5(4):e120-e138.
This study examines the issue of living environments for persons with acquired brain injury (ABI), with the aim of identifying factors that enable or act as barriers to appropriate living environments.
A qualitative study involving 31 semi-structured interviews conducted with 56 key informants representing various relevant sectors: institutional, community, residential and non-residential, consumer/advocacy and government/policy from six regions in the province of Ontario, Canada.
The study identified such barriers as lack of ABI-specific facilities, beds and trained staff and a poorly coordinated system in many areas, with long wait lists for specialized residential settings. Clients with ABI need individualized treatment, making development of a standardized model of care difficult, particularly for those with co-morbid conditions. Solutions such as more flexible options for clients and better trained staff emerged.
The study presents solutions to challenges and limitations in addressing appropriate living environments for persons with ABI.
PMCID: PMC2875897  PMID: 21532762
19.  Gender differences in self reported long term outcomes following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:102.
The majority of research on health outcomes after a traumatic brain injury is focused on male participants. Information examining gender differences in health outcomes post traumatic brain injury is limited. The purpose of this study was to investigate gender differences in symptoms reported after a traumatic brain injury and to examine the degree to which these symptoms are problematic in daily functioning.
This is a secondary data analysis of a retrospective cohort study of 306 individuals who sustained a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury 8 to 24 years ago. Data were collected using the Problem Checklist (PCL) from the Head Injury Family Interview (HIFI). Using Bonferroni correction, group differences between women and men were explored using Chi-square and Wilcoxon analysis.
Chi-square analysis by gender revealed that significantly more men reported difficulty setting realistic goals and restlessness whereas significantly more women reported headaches, dizziness and loss of confidence. Wilcoxon analysis by gender revealed that men reported sensitivity to noise and sleep disturbances as significantly more problematic than women, whereas for women, lack of initiative and needing supervision were significantly more problematic in daily functioning.
This study provides insight into gender differences on outcomes after traumatic brain injury. There are significant differences between problems reported by men compared to women. This insight may facilitate health service planners and clinicians when developing programs for individuals with brain injury.
PMCID: PMC3006373  PMID: 21029463
20.  The effect of traumatic brain injury on the health of homeless people 
We sought to determine the lifetime prevalence of traumatic brain injury and its association with current health conditions in a representative sample of homeless people in Toronto, Ontario.
We surveyed 601 men and 303 women at homeless shelters and meal programs in 2004–2005 (response rate 76%). We defined traumatic brain injury as any self-reported head injury that left the person dazed, confused, disoriented or unconscious. Injuries resulting in unconsciousness lasting 30 minutes or longer were defined as moderate or severe. We assessed mental health, alcohol and drug problems in the past 30 days using the Addiction Severity Index. Physical and mental health status was assessed using the SF-12 health survey. We examined associations between traumatic brain injury and health conditions.
The lifetime prevalence among homeless participants was 53% for any traumatic brain injury and 12% for moderate or severe traumatic brain injury. For 70% of respondents, their first traumatic brain injury occurred before the onset of homelessness. After adjustment for demographic characteristics and lifetime duration of homelessness, a history of moderate or severe traumatic brain injury was associated with significantly increased likelihood of seizures (odds ratio [OR] 3.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8 to 5.6), mental health problems (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.5 to 4.1), drug problems (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.5), poorer physical health status (–8.3 points, 95% CI –11.1 to –5.5) and poorer mental health status (–6.0 points, 95% CI –8.3 to –3.7).
Prior traumatic brain injury is very common among homeless people and is associated with poorer health.
PMCID: PMC2553875  PMID: 18838453

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