Health, social and economic consequences of neck injuriesA controlled national study evaluating societal effects on patients and their partners
Despite neck injuries causing significant socio-economic burdens, there is insufficient information about the time course, as well as the effect on their spouses.
Using records from the Danish National Patient Registry 1998-2009, all patients with a diagnosis of neck injury and their spouses were identified and compared with randomly chosen controls matched for age, gender, geographic area and civil status.
Direct costs included frequency of primary and hospital sector contacts and procedures, and medication. Indirect costs included the effect on labour supply. Social transfer payments were included to illustrate the effect on national accounts. All cost data were extracted from national databases.
Results. The register contributed 94,224 patients, and 372,341 matched controls were identified. The percentages of married or cohabiting individuals were approximately 47.5% in both groups.
Neck injury patients had significantly higher rates of health-related contacts, medication use and higher socio-economic costs than controls. To a lesser extent, they also had lower employment rates, and those employed generally had lower incomes.
Furthermore, the patients had already presented negative social- and health-related status up to 11 years before the first diagnosis, which became more pronounced for those with the highest costs. The health effects on costs were present regardless of age group and gender, and it was also seen for the patients' spouses.
Neck injuries are associated with major socio-economic consequences for patients, their spouses and society. However, the increased expenses during subsequent years cannot be explained by the injury alone, because these patients already had elevated expenses prior to the injury. This indicates some selection of increased vulnerability for both patients and their spouses.