Report reveals that brain and spinal cord injury costs the Australian community $10.5B – 27 July 2009

Posted on July 27, 2009. Filed under: Neurology | Tags: , |

Report reveals that brain and spinal cord injury costs the Australian community $10.5B
July 27, 2009

“A landmark report released today reveals for the first time the high cost of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) in Australia.

The report, completed by Access Economics on behalf of the Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative (VNI), shows that the lifetime costs of brain and spinal cord injuries occurring in 2008 alone is $10.5 billion.

“Whilst we acknowledge that we can’t put a figure on the human costs of brain and spinal injury, it is important to understand the financial burden to the individual and the wider community” said Dr Alex Collie, Director, VNI.

While relatively uncommon, brain and spinal cord injury typically occurs at a young age and individuals are disabled for the rest of their lives resulting in very high costs. In addition to the physical injury, many aspects of daily functioning are affected: the ability to work, go out with friends, participate in the community, and even go on holiday.

Lynne Pezzullo of Access Economics notes that “the report examines all financial costs – the huge cost to the individual, unpaid costs by their carers, the significant cost to the government and the hidden costs to the wider community.”

“The report also highlights that the direct financial costs of brain and spinal cord injury are comparable or greater than the costs of conditions considered high cost, such as dementia and multiple sclerosis”, said Ms Pezzullo.

“The good news is that there are interventions that are cost-effective and help improve the lives of individuals living with brain and spinal cord injury” said
Dr Collie.

The report found that the use of saline to resuscitate individuals with traumatic brain injury was cost-saving and the use of continuous positive airway pressure to treat sleep disorders in quadriplegia was cost effective.

The research demonstrating the effectiveness of both interventions was funded by the VNI and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). Traumatic brain and spinal cord injury most commonly occurs in young adults involved in transport accidents.”

The economic cost of spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury in Australia (1.31Mb)   from Access Economics

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