The cost of acquired brain injury (both traumatic and non-traumatic) can be significant, but also difficult to predict. Patients may have costs that span a number of years, covering hospitalizations, rehabilitation, and in-home care. Past studies that examine the direct costs related to brain injury have been found to be inconsistent because of unreliable patient recall, a focus on only the initial hospitalization, or differences in the use and availability of healthcare.
A recent study used a publically-funded healthcare system (Canada) over three years after injury to determine a more accurate picture of the direct costs related to acquired brain injury. This included information of costs from initial hospitalization to rehabilitation, in-home care, and physician visits. The researchers discovered the following:
- Non-traumatic brain injury patient care is more expensive than traumatic brain injury patient care.
- Discharge from hospital to rehabilitation center is associated with higher overall treatment costs.
- Healthcare costs decrease over time, but remain significant even after three years.
- The highest cost in the first year was acute care, and the highest costs in the second and third years were physician and home care services.
Chen A, Bushmeneva K, Zagaorski B, Colantionio A, et al. Direct cost associated with acquired brain injury in Ontario. BMC Neurology. (September 2012).