Using crash scene variables to predict the need for trauma center care in older persons


  • A section of this paper was presented at the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science 2006 State of the Science Congress, Washington, DC, October 12, 2006.

  • This research was supported by a grant from the Busch Biomedical Research Foundation, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.


Current trauma triage protocols lack sensitivity to occult injuries in older persons, resulting in unacceptable undertriage rates. We identified crash scene information that could be used by emergency personnel to identify the need for trauma center care in older persons injured in motor vehicle crashes. Crash records of 7,883 persons 65 years and older were explored using classification and regression trees (CART) analysis. CART analysis of 26 crash scene variables resulted in two classification trees from which triage decision rules were stated for persons with severe and moderate injuries. Sensitivity and specificity of the rules were 95.15% and 76.47% for severe injury and 83.1% and 81.5% for moderate injury. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 30:399–412, 2007