More than 70,000 Australians suffer from chronic brain injuries, including strokes, strokes with symptoms and convulsions, according to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
More than 50 per cent of them have been in a coma or worse.
The latest figures show more than 15,000 people have died from brain injuries since 2006.
More recently, the coronavirus pandemic has seen an increase in the number of people reporting symptoms.
The brain injury figures are based on information from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which includes people who died during emergency departments and are currently in hospital.
The survey is conducted by coronaviruses specialist, Professor Richard Thomsen of the University of Queensland.
Professor Thomse said there was a lot of uncertainty around what is actually happening to people with brain injuries and the reasons behind them.
I would like to think that it will go down to where the general public, the general health system, the broader community is aware of this and they will get better access to support and care,” Professor Thamsen said. “
I think there is still a lot more to do.
I would like to think that it will go down to where the general public, the general health system, the broader community is aware of this and they will get better access to support and care,” Professor Thamsen said.
Dr Simon Williams, director of clinical services at the Australian Brain Injury Coalition, said there were still a number of unknowns about how long people could stay in a vegetative state and how long they would need to remain in a hospital.
“The most commonly used definition of a coma is a state of prolonged unconsciousness, and that is a very common outcome of brain injury, particularly those who are in a severe coma,” Dr Williams said.
“If you have a coma you’re usually in a state that is quite severe, so I think we’re going to have to wait for that data to be released before we can make any firm conclusions about that.”
Dr Williams is also concerned about the increased demand for rehabilitation in the community.
“There’s been an increased demand in the hospital and community in terms of rehabilitation, particularly among younger people and those with mild brain injuries,” he said.
Topics: brain-injury, health, accidents, australia