Traumatic injuries are an important cause of activity limitation, leading to considerable socio-economic burden on patients. However, limited information is available on these limitations, and hence, this study was conducted to describe short-term, post-injury activity limitations, experienced by children aged 5 to 12 years, in Colombo district of Sri Lanka.
A hospital based prospective study was conducted, with judgmental sampling of eligible children, hospitalized for over 3 days following traumatic injuries, in 4 hospitals in Colombo district, during a period of 3 months. Their activity limitations in the domains of walking, dressing, writing, eating, bathing and using the toilet without assistance, were assessed, using an interviewer administered questionnaire, at 72 hours and 30 days post-injury, respectively.
Study included 244 patients, of which 175 (71.72%) were males. Fractures were sustained by 76.6%, while 18.4% had other major soft tissue injuries, and 8 (3.27%) had multiple injuries. Upper limbs were affected in 70.3%, lower limbs in 24.8% and head and trunk in 4%, but no major intracranial or spinal injuries. Prior to injury, 232 were fully independent, except 12 children (<6 years) who required some assistance.
After 72 hours post-injury, all subjects had limitations in dressing, bathing and using toilet (except one). At 30 days post-injury, the prevalence of partial short-term activity limitation was 57% and complete activity limitation was 25.2%, with the highest limitations observed in walking (48.83%), using the toilet (30.89%), bathing (25.80%), dressing (24.89%), writing (18.30%) and eating (17.61%). Injuries as well as their management, had resulted in these activity limitations. Injuries to lower limbs and trunk, as well as injuries due to Burns and Fractures, were the main causes of activity limitations at 30 days post-injury period.
Post-injury activity limitations in children, needs early identification and intervention, to minimize burden on patients and prevent life long consequences.
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