Acute costs and predictors of higher treatment costs for major paediatric trauma in New South Wales, Australia

Rebecca J. Mitchell*, Kate Curtis, Andrew Ja Holland, Zsolt J. Balogh, Julie Evans, Kellie L. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Aims To describe the costs of acute trauma admissions for children aged ≤15 years in trauma centres; to identify predictors of higher treatment costs and quantify differences in actual and state-wide average cost in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Method Admitted trauma patient data provided by 12 trauma centres was linked with financial data for 2008-2009. Demographic, injury details and injury severity scores (ISS) were obtained from trauma registries. Individual patient costs, Australian Refined Diagnostic Related Groups (AR-DRG) and state-wide average costs were obtained. Actual costs incurred by each hospital were compared with state-wide AR-DRG average costs. Multivariate multiple linear regression identified predictors of cost. Results There were 3493 patients with a total cost of AUD$20.2 million. Falls (AUD$6.7 million) and road trauma (AUD$4.4 million) had the highest total expenditure. The reduction in cost between ISS < 9 compared to ISS 9-12 and ISS > 12 was significant (P < 0.0001). The median cost of injury increased with every additional body region injured (P < 0.0001). For each additional day spent in hospital, there was an increased cost of AUD$1898 and patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) cost AUD$7358 more than patients not admitted to ICU. The total costs incurred by trauma centres were AUD$1.4 million above the NSW peer group average cost estimates. Conclusions The high financial cost of paediatric patient treatment highlights the need to ensure prevention remains a priority in Australia. Hospitals tasked with providing trauma care should be appropriately funded and future funding models should consider trauma severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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