Indicators of injury recovery identified by patients, family members and clinicians

Leanne M. Aitken, Wendy Chaboyer, Carol Jeffrey, Bronte Martin, Jennifer A. Whitty, Michael Schuetz, Therese S. Richmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: A focus on what is important to patients has been recognized as an essential pillar in care to ensure safe patient care that focuses on outcomes identified as important by patients. Despite this, asking trauma patients and their families what they consider should be the priorities of care and recovery has been neglected.

Methods: Adult trauma patients admitted to two centers in Australia for ≥24 hours for the treatment of physical injury, and family members of injured patients and clinicians caring for injured patients were invited to participate. Individual interviews were conducted with the patient and family members prior to hospital discharge, and again one and three months post discharge. Individual interviews or focus groups were conducted with clinicians at one point in time. Content analysis of all transcripts was undertaken to determine the indicators of successful recovery over time.

Results: Participants in the three stakeholder groups were enrolled (patients − 33; family members—22; clinicians—95). Indicators of recovery focused on five main categories including returning to work, resuming family roles, achieving independence, recapturing normality and achieving comfort. Other categories that were less frequently identified included maintaining one’s household, restoring emotional stability, cosmetic considerations and appearance, realignment of life goals, psychological recovery and development of self. Indicators of recovery after physical injury were similar across the three stakeholder groups, although with greater detail identified by patients. In addition, indicators evolved over time with increasing recognition of the importance of the overall impact of the injury in general and on activities of daily living and an unfolding appreciation that life could not be taken for granted.

Conclusions: Description of the indicators of recovery after traumatic injury that matter to patients, family members and clinicians enable an understanding of similarities and differences. Further testing in a broader cohort of participants is essential to identify patient reported outcome measures that might be used in trauma care and associated research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2655–2663
Issue number12
Early online date14 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Trauma
  • Outcome assessment
  • Health priorities
  • Patient-centred care
  • Patient reported outcomes
  • Recovery

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