Databases like the Victorian State Trauma Registry (VSTR) and the Victorian Orthopaedic Trauma Outcomes Registry (VOTOR) have identified groups at risk of experiencing poorer recovery outcomes following traumatic injury, but they stop short of providing information about the factors that lead to these differences.

Researchers spoke directly with patients within these at-risk groups to learn more about their recovery experience to produce more detailed information.

Professor Belinda Gabbe from the Monash University Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine led a research team that interviewed 120 survivors of serious injury in Victoria, hoping to identify the factors that helped and hindered their recovery process.

This research team was particularly interested in how patients' recovery processes are influenced by their interactions with the healthcare system and compensation providers, as the broader objective of the project was to improve the way that healthcare and compensation providers deliver trauma care to injured Victorians.

Where to now?

This project concluded in 2012, with the delivery of a final report.

This report concludes that there was a broad range of factors influencing recovery for trauma patients, from strong social support to persistent pain and poor communication from healthcare providers.

Based on these findings, the report offers a number of recommendations to both healthcare providers and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). Most of these recommendations concern the provision of timely, clear and consistent information and more effective communication.

In a hospital setting, these recommendations have led to the revision and development of information brochures, a greater awareness of the need to advocate for patients and plans to implement dedicated discharge planning coordinators.

These recommendations have resulted a more streamlined decision process within the service program at TAC.