To examine children's unmet and unrecognized healthcare and school needs following traumatic brain injury
Two pediatric trauma centers.
Children with all severity of TBI aged 4 to 15 years.
Caregivers provided child health and school service use 3 and 12 months postinjury. Unmet and unrecognized needs were categorized compared with norms on standardized physical, cognitive, socioemotional health, or academic competence measures in conjunction with caregiver report of needs and services. Modified Poisson models examined child and family predictors of unmet and unrecognized needs.
Of 322 children, 28% had unmet or unrecognized healthcare or school needs at 3 months, decreasing to 24% at 12 months. Unmet healthcare needs changed from primarily physical (79%) at 3 months to cognitive (47%) and/or socioemotional needs (68%) at 12 months. At 3 months, low social capital, preexisting psychological diagnoses, and 6 to 11 years of age predicted higher healthcare needs and severe TBI predicted higher school needs. Twelve months postinjury, prior inpatient rehabilitation
, low income, and preexisting psychological diagnoses were associated with higher healthcare needs; family function was important for school and healthcare needs.
Targeted interventions to provide family supports may increase children's access to services.