BACKGROUND: Elderly persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are increasingly admitted to inpatient rehabilitation, but we have limited knowledge of their characteristics, the treatments they receive, and their short-term and medium-term outcomes. This study explored these issues by means of comparisons between age groups. Methods: Data on 1419 patients admitted to 9 inpatient rehabilitation facilities for initial rehabilitation after TBI were collected by means of (1) abstraction from medical records; (2) point-of care forms completed by therapists after each treatment session; and (3) interviews at 3 months and 9 months after discharge, conducted with the patient or a proxy. Results: Elderly persons (65 or older) had a lower brain injury severity, and a shorter length of stay (LOS) in acute care. During rehabilitation, they received fewer hours of therapy, due to a shorter LOS and fewer hours of treatment per day, especially from psychology and therapeutic recreation. They regained less functional ability during and after inpatient rehabilitation, and had a very high mortality rate. Conclusions: Elderly people can be rehabilitated successfully, and discharged back to the community. The treatment therapists deliver, and issues surrounding high mortality need further research.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- activities of daily living