The burden of pre-admission pain, depression, and caregiving on palliative care needs for seriously ill trauma patients

Muhammad Abbas, Amanda Jane Reich, Yihan Wang, Frances Y. Hu, Evan Bollens-Lund, Amy S. Kelley, Zara Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Increasing numbers of individuals admitted to hospitals for trauma are older adults, many of whom also have underlying serious illnesses. Older adults with serious illness benefit from palliative care, but the palliative care needs of seriously ill older adults with trauma have not been elucidated. We hypothesize that older adults with serious illness have a high prevalence of pain, depression, and unpaid caregiving hours before trauma admission. Methods: Using Health and Retirement Study data (2008–2018) linked to Medicare claims, we identified patients 66 years or older who met an established definition of serious illness in surgery and were admitted with trauma. Descriptive analyses were performed for baseline patient characteristics, pre-admission pain (dichotomized as none/mild vs. moderate/severe), depression (dichotomized as no, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale [CES-D] < 3 vs. yes, CES-D ≥ 3), and unpaid caregiving hours (dichotomized as low (<30 h/month), high (≥30 h/month)). Results: We identified 1741 patients, 67.4% were female and 86.8% White. Mean age was 83 (SD 7.5), and 60.3% had ≥4 comorbidities. The majority (62.9%) were admitted due to falls, 33.5% had isolated hip fracture. The prevalence of baseline moderate/severe pain and depression were 38.1% and 42.6%, respectively. Among the cohort, 42.2% had unpaid caregiving, of those 27.7% had ≥30 h/week of unpaid caregiving hours. Conclusions: Prior to trauma admission, older adults with serious illness have a high prevalence of pain, depression, and unpaid caregiving hours. These findings may inform targeted palliative care interventions to reduce symptom burden and post-discharge healthcare utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2229-2238
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume71
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • palliative care
  • serious illness
  • symptom burden
  • trauma

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