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Differences in Survival, Length of Stay, and Discharge Disposition of Older Trauma Patients Admitted to Trauma Centers and Nontrauma Center Hospitals


  • Linda J. Scheetz

    1. Linda J. Scheetz, EdD, APRN, BC, Alpha Zeta, Assistant Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ. This work was supported by grants from the Emergency Nurses Foundation/Sigma Theta Tau International and Rutgers College of Nursing. The author thanks John Kolassa, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Statistical Computing, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, for his assistance with statistical analyses and interpretation. Correspondence to Dr. Scheetz, College of Nursing, Ackerson Hall, 180 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102. E-mail:
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Purpose: To examine the relationship of level of care (trauma center [TC], nontrauma center [NTC] hospitals) on three outcomes: survival, length of stay, and discharge disposition.

Design: Retrospective secondary analysis of a subset of data (1,418 patients age 65 to 99 years) from a large statewide study in which the purpose was to compare admission patterns (TCs and NTCs) of motor vehicle (MV) trauma patients according to age and sex. The New Jersey UB-92 Patient Discharge Data for 2000 were used in this analysis.

Methods: Demographic and clinical variables were compared using descriptive data, independent samples t tests, Pearson chi square, and Mann-Whitney U analyses. Logistic regression and multiple regression analyses were performed to examine relationships between level of care and three outcome variables, survival, length of stay, and discharge disposition, while controlling for age and severity of injury.

Results: NTC admission was the only predictor of survival and discharge to home, but injury severity was the strongest predictor of length of stay, followed by NTC care. The odds of survival and discharge home decreased slightly as age and injury severity increased.

Conclusions: This analysis indicated preliminary evidence that level of care influences survival, length of stay, and discharge disposition. Studies are warranted for researchers to examine the influence of postinjury variables, including complications, stress reaction, and depression on outcomes.