The first Australian report is welcome and should help inform policy
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) continues to be a significant public health issue in Australia. Despite advances in acute medical care and decreases in mortality, those affected experience long-term morbidity and have an increased late mortality rate. TBI is the leading cause of death and disability among young people, and the incidence of severe TBI is higher in men than women at a ratio of 3.5 : 1.1 The leading causes of TBI include: motor vehicle accidents (50%); falls (21%); violence (12%); and sports and recreation (10%).2 In Australia in 2008, there were 2493 new cases of TBI (about 1000 of these were severe),2 and the estimated total cost of care was $8.6 billion. Across Australia, lifetime cost per incident case of severe TBI was estimated at $4.8 million.2 In 2007, more than 16 000 patients were admitted to hospitals with TBI,3 with an average length of stay of 6.1 days in acute care, 64.2 days in rehabilitation and 84.1 days in other care. These patients characteristically have multiple disabilities and, in addition to health care services, they frequently receive other disability support services (eg, case management, individual therapy support, life skills development).
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