Researchers observed relatively good physical and functional outcome, but poorer results for cognitive and emotional health.
More Than Half of Patients Developed Depressive or Anxiety Disorders
During an interview, Dr. Feyz emphasized that even patients who do not require intervention in a rehabilitation setting on a long-term basis should be considered for psychological support services.
"Cognitive and emotional deficiencies can have major consequences, and most of our patients could not keep the same job after their accidents," she said. "This leads to other psychosocial problems that often result in psychological vulnerability. Out of all the patients observed in this study, 52% presented with depressive or anxiety disorders 2 to 5 years after the trauma."
The investigators point to a number of strengths and weakness of their work. These results were obtained in a Canadian population in the context of a universal healthcare system from emergency treatment to postrehabilitation. All of these patients received the same services based only on their needs and their recovery potential, with no financial considerations.
Cognitive and emotional deficiencies can have major consequences and most of our patients could not keep the same job after their accidents.
It is a representative sample of patients with traumatic brain injury because it included not only those who made sufficient progress to benefit from rehabilitation, but also those who required long-term care placement.
The study was limited, however, by its small sample size. Although the study was prospective, patients were recruited retrospectively, and the choice of validated measures was limited to those used at the time of acute-care admission to compare measures at discharge and at follow-up. Because of this, several objective, physical, and cognitive tests could not be used.
Despite these limitations, researchers suggest that this study will help clinicians, health administrators, insurance companies, and families organize efficient care and plan long-term services for patients with traumatic brain injury.
This study was supported by grants from the McGill University Health Centre, the Montreal General Hospital Foundation, and the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. The researchers have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2008;23:294–303.