Brain injuries: health care capacity and policy in Georgia
Keywords:KEYWORDS: Georgia; Health care capacity; Head trauma; TBI prevention; TBI treatment resources; Traumatic brain injury.
Background: Over 90% of morbidity and mortality associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs in low- and middle-income countries. Lack of reliable, high-quality data regarding TBI prevention and care hinders the ability to reduce TBI burden. We sought to identify current TBI data collection practices and capacity in Georgia, focusing on pre-hospital, hospital, and rehabilitation treatment.
Methods: The eight level I and two level II Trauma Hospitals in Georgia with the highest number of TBI admissions in 2017 were selected for study. A semi-structured survey about various aspects of TBI care was designed and semi-structured interviews of healthcare providers treating TBI patients (e.g. neurologists, neurosurgeons) were conducted based on this survey.
Results: Pre-hospital triage protocols were not routinely used to match patient treatment needs with hospital capacity. All hospitals provided specialist care for TBI 24 hours/day. MRI was available at only three (30%) centers, and in-hospital rehabilitation units were available in only one (10%). No center used a defined protocol for treating TBI patients and no national protocol exists.
Conclusion: Even among the largest, most highly specialized hospitals in Georgia, TBI care varies in terms of diagnostic and treatment protocols. While TBI specialists are available, diagnostic equipment often is not. Gaps in pre-hospital coordination and access to rehabilitation services exist and provide areas of focus for future investment in reducing TBI burden.
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