Brain Injury: Quality of Life's Greatest Challenge

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The objectives of this investigation were to (1) identify elements that comprise an acceptable quality of life (Q-L) post-traumatic brain injury (TBI) from the perspectives of patients and families, and (2) explore patient and family satisfaction with treatment decisions relevant to QoL. The authors created, tested, and administered two forms (patient; family) of a 35-question interview to 33 participants in a longitudinal TBI study (14 women, 19 men) and 33 associated family members. Men associated ratings of QoL with numerous variables, while women's responses revealed no significant relationships shared by QoL and other variables. Women reported a poorer QoL than did men. Older patients reported a better QoL than did younger patients. Families emphasized the family relationship, emotional control, and ability to concentrate when considering overall QoL. Patients did not. The majority of patients and families expressed satisfaction with decisions made about acute treatment. QoL research is essential to illuminate best practice models.