Inpatient rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury: The influence of age on treatments and outcomes

Marcel Dijkers, Murray Brandstater, Susan Horn, David Ryser, Ryan Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-252
Number of pages20
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • activities of daily living
  • aging
  • hospitalization
  • mortality
  • rehabilitation
  • severity
  • therapies


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