Objectives: (1) Provide population-based estimates of perceived needs following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the prevalence of unmet needs 1 year postinjury; (2) identify relations among needs that define unique clusters of individuals; and (3) identify risk factors for experiencing selected needs.
Design: Telephone survey 1 year after injury of a prospective cohort of all people hospitalized with TBI in the state of Colorado during 2000.
Measures: Self-reported need for assistance in 13 areas of functioning.
Results: A total of 58.8% of persons hospitalized with TBI experienced at least 1 need during the year following injury; 40.2% will experience at least 1 unmet need 1 year after injury. Most frequently experienced needs were “improving your memory, solving problems better” (34.1%), “managing stress, emotional upsets” (27.9%), and “managing your money, paying bills” (23.3%). Cluster analysis revealed 8 distinctive groupings of subjects. If a need existed, those least likely to be met involved cognitive abilities, employment, and alcohol and/or drug use.
Conclusions: Results were consistent with findings from previous assessments of need for services based on surveys of convenience samples; however, the prevalence of unmet needs 1 year after injury may be higher than previously suspected. More post-hospital services addressing cognitive and emotional problems appear needed. Risk factors for experiencing needs suggest potential avenues for clinical intervention.