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Balance and Mobility Improvements During Inpatient Rehabilitation Are Similar in Young-Old, Mid-Old, and Old-Old Adults With Traumatic Brain Injury

Perry, Susan B., DPT, PT; Billek-Sawhney, Barbara, EdD, DPT, PT, GCS; Woollard, Jason, PhD, PT; Little, Susan, MS, PT; Szalinski, Amy, DPT, PT

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: March/April 2019 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p E66–E73
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000415
Focus on Clinical Research and Practice

Objective: To compare balance, mobility, and functional outcomes across 3 age groups of older adults with traumatic brain injury; to describe differences between those discharged to private residences versus institutional care.

Setting: Acute inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Participants: One hundred adults, mean age of 78.6 ± 7.9 years (range = 65-95 years), with an admitting diagnosis of traumatic brain injury.

Design: Retrospective case series.

Main Measures: Functional Independence Measure (FIM) for Cognition and Mobility; Berg Balance Scale; Timed Up and Go; and gait speed, at admission to and discharge from an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Results: Statistically significant improvements (P < .01) were made on the Timed Up and Go, Berg Balance Scale, and gait speed for young-old, mid-old, and old-old adults, with no differences among the 3 age groups. Substantial balance and mobility deficits remained. The FIM cognition (P = .013), FIM Walk (P = .009), and FIM Transfer (P = .013) scores were significantly better in individuals discharged home or home with family versus those discharged to an institution.

Conclusion: Preliminary outcome data for specific balance and mobility measures are reported in 3 subgroups of older adults following traumatic brain injury, each of which made significant and similar improvements. Some FIM item scores discriminated between those discharged to a private residence versus a higher level of care.

Physical Therapy Program, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Drs Perry and Woollard); Graduate School of Physical Therapy, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania (Dr Billek-Sawhney); and ReMed, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Szalinski).

Corresponding Author: Susan B. Perry, DPT, PT, Physical Therapy Program, Chatham University, Woodland Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15232 (

The authors thank Kristin Budziszewski, DPT, PT, for her assistance with data collection.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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