Change in life roles and quality of life in older adults after traumatic brain injury.

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Master of Science
University of Canterbury
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Dainter, Katie Joanne

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a major health problem for adults aged 50-65. Due to New Zealand’s aging population, it is important that consideration is given to outcomes after mild TBI (mTBI) in older adults, as these have implications for both the workforce and for the individual’s quality of life (QOL). This study examined changes in life roles, QOL, satisfaction with ability to perform daily activities and the perception of support available and the rehabilitative experienced in older adults who had experienced mTBI (n = 15), and compared them to older adults who has experienced an orthopaedic injury (n =15). Participants completed two quantitative measures; The World Health Organisation Quality of Life Questionnaire -100 Version and The Role Checklist, and also completed a semi-structured phone interview to elicit both quantitative and qualitative data. Results demonstrated that older adults with mTBI experienced more role losses (and had most losses in the worker role), had lower QOL, and were less satisfied with their ability to perform daily activities than older adults with orthopaedic injuries. Additionally, participants with TBI were more likely to perceive the support available to them during their recovery in a negative way, and were more likely to experience barriers to accessing support than adults with orthopaedic injury. These results demonstrate the detrimental impact mTBI can have on an older adults life roles and QOL, and highlights the need for services that adequately support older adults with mTBI to regain as much of their pre-injury functioning as possible, so they can return to their pre-injury life roles and maintain a good QOL.

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