Two hundred fifty consecutive children hospitalized with severe injuries (at least one injury with an Abbreviated Injury Score [AIS] >= 4 or two or more injuries with AIS scores >= 2) were studied to determine their functional status at discharge and 6 months later using questions from the RAND Health Insurance Study (HIS) and the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). Of the 217 surviving patients, 190 (88%) had one or more functional limitations by the HIS scale at discharge. Ten (5%) were in a vegetative state, 40 (18%) severely disabled, 97 (45%) moderately disabled, and 70 (32%) healthy by the GOS. Six-month followup was complete for 156 patients. Of these, 84 (54%) had one or more functional limitations by the HIS scale. Seven (4%) were in a vegetative state, 17 (11%) severely disabled, 50 (32%) moderately disabled, and 82 (53%) healthy by the GOS. A substantial proportion of the whole group of children hospitalized for the treatment of severe injuries had ongoing physical disabilities that limited their participation in normal activities 6 months after they were discharged. This suggests a need for greater emphasis on the rehabilitation of pediatric trauma patients.
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