Content » Vol 45, Issue 5

Original report

The association of compensation and long-term health status for people with severe traumatic injuries

Frederieke G. Schaafsma, James Middleton, Annelies C. De Wolf, Robyn L. Tate, Ian D. Cameron
Rehabilitation Studies Unit, Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1135


Objective: It was hypothesized that, for people with severe traumatic injuries, no association between long term health status and receiving financial compensation would be detected.
Design: Two prospective cohort studies.
Subjects: A group of people with severe traumatic brain injury (n = 132) and a group of people with traumatic spinal cord injury (n = 58).
Methods: Health status and functioning were measured at baseline and at 5 years follow-up for both injury groups. Results per group were compared between those who received compensation and those who were non-compensable.
Results: In the brain injury cohort those receiving financial compensation showed a significantly worse Disability Rating
Scale score after 5 years compared to the non-receiving group (p = 0. 01). Financial compensation was a modest predictor for being disabled (scores ≥ 4) after 5 years (Exp (B) = 2. 47, 95% confidence interval 1. 03 to 5. 93). In the
spinal cord injury cohort those receiving financial compensation scored significantly lower with the Short-Form 36 General Health Survey/Physical Component Summarise scores after 5 years than those who did not (p = 0. 04). Again, receiving financial compensation had a modest predictive value for the Short-Form 36/Physical Component Summarise scores after 5 years (B = –4. 72, SE = 2. 16, 95% confidence interval –9. 05 to –0. 38).
Conclusion: Financial compensation may have a small negative association with recovery, even for people with severe traumatic injury.

Lay Abstract


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