Better Outcomes for Severely Injured Children and Their Families Through the Trauma Journey

Injuries are one of the leading causes of childhood mortality and morbidity in Australia. A proportion of childhood injury morbidity will involve severe to critical injuries. When a young child is severely injured, it is likely to lead to long-term medical, psychological and financial stress for the whole family. In 2004 the Australian government identified children aged 0-14 as a priority injury issue, but has not implemented any nationally coordinated injury prevention strategies aimed at reducing childhood injury.
The total burden and causes of paediatric injury by injury severity are not clear, and a more accurate “snapshot” of the incidence and characteristics of severe injury in Australian children is especially needed. This will better inform injury prevention strategies, research priorities and trauma system design, planning and resource needs.
This is a program of research regarding paediatric trauma, being lead by A/Prof Kate Curtis at the Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, and funded by the Day of Difference Foundation and the Thyne Reid Foundation.

Study 1: Led by Dr Rebecca Mitchell, will be a retrospective epidemiological study of hospitalised child injury in Australia and will involve data linkage of hospital admission and mortality data for a 10 year period. The overall objective of the study is to estimate and describe the burden of hospitalised childhood injury and related follow-up care in Australia and to determine the severity of the injuries experienced and factors influencing survival.
Study 2: Led by A/Prof Kim Foster, will involve a prospective, longitudinal study using an embedded mixed methods design, where 30 parents of severely injured children treated at 5 hospitals across Australia will be followed for 2 years following their child’s injury. The study will examine the experiences, unmet needs and outcomes of parents of physically injured children throughout the trauma journey.
Study 3: Led by A/Prof Kate Curtis, will involve a mixed methods study, and will examine the context in which care is provided for severely injured children at 5 paediatric trauma hospitals. This will involve surveys, interviews and a series of focus groups with hospital staff.
Study 4: Led by A/Prof Kate Curtis, will examine the implementation and evaluation of a family support coordinator to assist families of severely injured children.