New Method for Evaluating Health-Related Quality of Life for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) PatientsOctober 31, 2017
While TBI treatments focus on addressing the physical, cognitive and emotional impacts of brain injuries, it can be remarkably challenging for treatments to restore TBI patients’ quality of life. This is due, in part, to the facts that:
- There is no single tool or instrument that can definitively assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for TBI patients.
- TBI treatments tend to focus on and be assessed via functional indicators (like disability, productivity and social function), rather than the subjective experience of wellbeing and functionality.
Looking to better evaluate the HRQoL for TBI patients, German researchers conducted a study on a new TBI tool, known as the Quality of Life after Brain Injury tool (QOLIBRI).
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Details of the TBI Study
This study included 172 TBI patients, who were “recruited from the records of acute clinics.” These participants:
- Had reportedly sustained a TBI 3 months to 15 years prior to this study
- Had all suffered a TBI when they were at least 15 years old
- Were between 17 and 68 years old when participating in the study
- Included individuals with mild TBIs (~56 percent of participants), with moderate TBIs (~11 percent of participants) and with severe TBIs (~24 percent of participants).
As part of this study, participants completed a:
- Set of questionnaires – The QOLIBRI questionnaire covered “six domains,” including Cognition, Self, Daily Life and Autonomy, Social Relationships, Emotions and Physical Problems. In total, 37 specific “items” were included in these domains, with some “requiring satisfaction judgments” and others asking “about how bothered the person feels” by a specific issue. Each participant completed this questionnaire twice (initial test and retest), with the retest occurring an average of two weeks after the initial test.
- Telephone Interview – This interview “was administered to screen the cognitive status of the participant.” Following this interview, participants were either classified as having low cognitive performance or normal performance.
After analyzing participants’ responses to the questionnaires and phone interviews, researchers found that the QOLIBRI scales are “appropriate,” “favorable” and “sufficiently reliable for assessing individuals.”
While researchers did recommend further research be conducted on this topic and the QOLIBRI, they concluded that:
The psychometric properties of the German QOLIBRI suggest that it is a practical and reliable instrument that can be considered for use in studies examining HRQoL after TBI in clinical, as well as in research settings. The QOLIBRI offers a profile of HRQoL in domains that are relevant for TBI, as well as a summary score.
It provides an assessment of TBI-specific HRQoL that potentially complements functional outcome measures… and measures of social participation, general wellbeing and subjective health status.
Consequently, they recommended use of the QOLIBRI tool in TBI rehabilitation planning and settings, explaining that this tool can “help identify and set appropriate goals for therapy.”
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