OBJECTIVES: To describe the seriously injured adult population aged 65 and older; compare the differences in injury characteristics and outcomes in three subgroups aged 65 to 74, 75 to 84, and 85 and older; and identify predictors of death, complications, and hospital discharge destination.
DESIGN: Retrospective secondary analysis of data from the Queensland Trauma Registry (QTR) using all patients aged 65 and older admitted from 2003 through 2006.
SETTING: Data from 15 regional and tertiary hospitals throughout Queensland, Australia.
PARTICIPANTS: Six thousand sixty-nine patients: 2,291 (37.7%) aged 65 to 74, 2,265 (37.3%) aged 75 to 84, and 1,513 (24.9%) aged 85 and older.
MEASUREMENTS: Outcome variables included mortality, complications, and discharge destination (usual residence, rehabilitation, nursing home, convalescence). Predictive factors incorporated demographic details, injury characteristics, and acute care factors.
RESULTS: Hospital survival was 95.0%, with a median length of hospital stay of 8 days (interquartile range 5–15), and 33.8% of cases with a major injury developed a complication. Predictors of death included older age, male sex, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), greater Injury Severity Score (ISS), injury caused by a fall, and two or more injuries; those who had surgery were less likely to die. Predictors of complications included ICU admission, older age, longer hospital stay, and two or more injuries. Predictors of discharge to a nursing home included older age, greater ISS, longer hospital stay, and injury caused by a fall, among others.
CONCLUSION: Older adults with severe injuries are at risk of poor outcomes. These findings suggest opportunities for improving geriatric trauma care that could lead to better outcomes.