When an injury leads to additional health problems, theseproblems are referred to as "secondary complications." Patients with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) often face these complications, and they can impact on SCI care and claim management.

The secondary complications encountered by SCI patients arevaried and potentially very complex.

Often they relate to the respiratory or genitourinary systems, or both. They can also include bed sores, or blood clots in the legs or lungs.

Other secondary complications could include persistent pain or mental health disorders (such as depression or anxiety) that develop as a result of the injury.

Despite this all, there is very little information available around therates and direct costs of secondary complications as experienced by SCI patients in Australia.

Professor Belinda Gabbe, director of Monash's Pre-Hospital, Emergency and Trauma Research Unit, led a research team to address this knowledge gap.

Her team analysed existing information (data collected by hospitals,emergency and trauma departments, and the TAC to determine the rate, type, and direct costs of SCI secondary complications).

These numbers were then matched to various patient sub-groups, based upon type and severity of injury, age, gender, and compensation status.

Ultimately, it is hoped that the information collected will help usunderstand why post-injury complications occur and who they affect – as well asthe costs associated with this.

This information will improve the TAC's ability to help its clients, and improve outcomes for people with SCI.

This project is expected to be particularly useful when considered alongside ongoing research into bladder infections after SCI.

Where to now?

This research has now been completed and a report will be published here shortly.