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Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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, Epub, ,


Objective: This study compared traumatic brain injury (TBI) outcomes from 2 cohorts: the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) in the United States and Longitudinal Head Injury Outcome Study conducted in Victoria, Australia, by the Monash Epworth Rehabilitation Research Centre (MERRC).

Design: Cohort study with 1- and 2-year follow-up.

Setting: Acute trauma care and inpatient rehabilitation with follow-up.

Participants: Patients (N=1056) with moderate-severe TBI admitted in 2000-2012 to inpatient rehabilitation after motor vehicle-related collisions, who completed follow-up, were matched using 1:2 matching algorithm based on age at injury, days of posttraumatic amnesia, and years education, resulting in groups of 352 (MERRC) and 704 patients (TBIMS).

Intervention: The cohorts had received acute trauma care and inpatient rehabilitation for a median 38 (MERRC) or 33 days (TBIMS). The MERRC group also had routine access to community-based support and rehabilitation for return to work or school, attendant care, and home help as justified, funded by an accident compensation system, whereas the TBIMS cohort had variable access to these services.

Main outcome measures: Outcomes were assessed 1 and 2 years post injury in terms of employment, living situation, marital status, and Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended (GOS-E) scores.

Results: At 2 years post injury, MERRC participants were more likely to be competitively employed. At both 1 and 2 years post injury, MERRC participants were more likely to be married and living independently. On GOS-E, the TBIMS group had higher percentages of patients in Lower Severe Disability/Vegetative State and Upper Good Recovery than MERRC participants, whereas the MERRC cohort had higher percentages of Lower Moderate Disability than TBIMS.

Conclusions: Findings may suggest that routine provision of community-based supports could confer benefits for long-term TBI outcomes. Further studies documenting rehabilitation services are needed to explore this.


Jennie Ponsford, Cynthia Harrison-Felix, Jessica M Ketchum, Gershon Spitz, A Cate Miller, John D Corrigan