Examining age-related differences in functional domain impairment following traumatic brain injury

Int J Older People Nurs. 2018 Dec;13(4):e12208. doi: 10.1111/opn.12208. Epub 2018 Aug 21.


Objective: To examine differences in the functional recovery trajectories between younger and older adults with mild-moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the first year postinjury as well as health-related quality of life.

Design: Observational cohort.

Setting: Level one trauma centre in the State of Washington.

Participants: Adults with mild-moderate TBI (N = 34; younger adults, n = 19, and older adults, n = 15).

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measures: Functional Status Examination (FSE) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL; SF-12v2).

Results: Older adults consistently showed significantly worse functional performance than younger adults following TBI in the following FSE domains: mobility, ability to travel, home maintenance and overall functional status. For both groups, preinjury physical health was significantly correlated with ability to travel and social integration at 12-month postinjury. Older participants' preinjury physical and mental health had significant and negative correlation with their functional status.

Conclusions: Our study provides insights and implications into adults' specific functional impairments following TBI, and which domains have persistent deficits.

Implications for practice: Early intervention and rehabilitation should focus on improving older adults' physical functioning and mobility. Our study may also inform future research and design of post-TBI interventions for older adults.

Keywords: aged; functional status; head injury; health-related quality of life; recovery.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / psychology*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Trauma Centers
  • Washington