Distribution and type of inpatient allied health services for people following road traffic crashes across Queensland – where are the gaps?

Ms Jacelle Warren1, Professor Deborah Theodoros2, Associate Professor Kirsten Vallmuur3,1, Associate Professor Cate Cameron1,3, Dr Louise Cahill2, Professor Michele Sterling2,4, Associate Professor Venerina Johnston2

1Jamieson Trauma Institute, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia, 2Recover Injury Research Centre, Health and Behavioural Sciences Faculty, The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia, 3Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Australia, 4Centre of Research Excellence in Recovery Following Road Traffic Injuries, The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia

Background: To ensure appropriate levels of inpatient allied health services are available for people experiencing traumatic injuries in Queensland, it is necessary to explore the distribution and availability of core services such as physiotherapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy (OT) and social work, and to identify service gaps. This proof-of-concept project utilises state-wide inpatient hospital administrative data to describe the broad geographic distribution and types of allied health services received by patients during their acute care episode following road traffic crashes (RTCs), and identify any mal-distribution of allied health inpatient services across the state.

Method: Deidentified data was extracted from the Queensland Hospital Admitted Patient Data Collection for the first episode of acute care for patients with a principal diagnosis of an injury (ICD-10-AM code range S00 – T98) admitted to a Queensland public or private hospital between 1/1/2007 and 31/12/2016. RTCs were defined as an ICD-10-AM External Cause code V00 – V98. Descriptive analysis was undertaken to quantify 1) type of inpatient allied health services received (12 possible service types), 2) the hospital location and 3) demographic/injury factors of patients receiving these services.

Results: Between 1/1/2007 and 31/12/2016, almost 800,000 acute care episodes were recorded for injury patients admitted to hospitals throughout Queensland, with 11.8% (93,660) sustaining injury from RTCs. Of these patients, 33.8% (31,648) received allied health interventions during the first episode of acute care, totaling 56,736 service types (range 1 – 9 per patient), most commonly physiotherapy (48.4%), followed by OT (22.8%) and social work (15.9%). For 30% of patients, the acute care hospital was outside their area of usual residence.

Discussion: Given many patients reside outside the hospital area, the results of this study will form the basis for developing innovative methods to address mal-distribution of services for those injured in RTCs, which has implications for NDIS and NIIS-Q.


Jacelle is a biostatistician within the Jamieson Trauma Institute, and has extensive experience with statistical analysis of large injury datasets, both cross-sectional and longitudinal, and has a particular interest in the physical and psychological recovery of injured people.

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