Rehabilitative Input and Support Received by Older Adults following a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury event.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Introduction: Older adults have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to the effects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). However, limited research exists that examines the information and support received by older adults after a TBI, despite suggestions that input may be insufficient. We therefore aimed to evaluate the information and rehabilitative support received by individuals after mTBI, and to determine whether there were any age-related differences. Method: Adults (n = 250) who presented at the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department over a 12 month period, with a diagnosis of mTBI were invited to participate in the study. Of these, 106 consented and 80 were able to be contacted for follow up. Participants were aged 18-85 years (M = 48) and evenly distributed into four age groups (18-30, 31-50, 51-65 and 66-85 years). Participants were interviewed over the phone using a questionnaire developed in a pilot study. Questions focussed on information and treatment received after the participants’ injury, as well as questions about cognitive and mood problems following the injury. Data was analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Results: There were no significant differences between age groups for the number of post-TBI symptoms reported by participants. However, as predicted, the post-injury information and assistance received were inconsistent and differed across groups: 25% of all participants did not receive any information after their TBI, and older adults were the least satisfied with the information received. Post-injury assistance was most commonly offered by friends, family and significant others, but this may not have been sufficient to encourage complete recovery. Participants made suggestions for assistance and support that they would have liked following their injury. Conclusions: The current study has significant implications for the treatment of mTBI as ill-informed and neglected patients are unlikely to return to pre-injury functioning and mental state. Furthermore, a rapidly increasing older population makes immediate attention to mTBI in older adults imperative.