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Research into aspects of the care of the injured depends on accurate and complete documentation. Inadequate records make audit almost impossible and are unacceptable medico-legally. An audit was made of the standard of trauma documentation in the Yorkshire region before the introduction of trauma charts in 1992. After it was established that a problem did exist, an audit was made of the standard of documentation before and after introduction of trauma charts in one city teaching hospital. Case notes were inspected for completeness of documentation of respiratory, circulatory and neurological status. Results from 1988–1989 showed that only 39.4 per cent of notes recorded the four parameters under investigation. In 1992–1994 the standard had improved. Without trauma charts documentation increased to 90 per cent, but with trauma charts in primary referrals the result improved to 97 per cent. Only 56 per cent of notes were complete for tertiary referrals when a trauma chart was not used. The standard of documentation in major injuries improved with the use of trauma charts. It is recommended that trauma charts are used routinely for all primary and tertiary referrals of injured patients. Tertiary referral patients should be reassessed fully after hospital transfer and a new trauma chart completed.
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Accepted: November 18, 1996
© 1997 Published by Elsevier Inc.