Outcome Rating Scales for Pediatric Head Injury

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Intensivists, surgeons, neurologists, and others involved in pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) have an important investment in both short- and long-term outcomes of children and adolescents with head injury who are treated under their care. Outcomes are most often documented by either single- or multiple-item rating scales and are implemented both during and after hospital care. For this review, the authors have organized the content of rating scales into 6 general classes: (1) mortality prediction, (2) severity, (3) global recovery, (4) activity restrictions, (5) secondary adverse conditions, and (6) limitations in participation, quality of life, and health status. Rating scales that describe the outcomes of children and adolescents after head injury are used to monitor medical and functional recovery, guide clinical management, drive quality assurance initiatives, and conduct clinical research. The authors restrict their selective review to rating scales that describe child outcomes (vs family) and that have been reported and applied in the outcome literature. Although head injury is a major cause of mortality and short- and long-term morbidity in children and adolescents, there is no consensus on which rating scales are optimal for hospital care or community follow-up. Major considerations for clinical use are feasibility, type of outcome information needed, content breadth across multiple ages and levels of recovery, and utility in determining the short-term impact of PICU care on long-term outcome.

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