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Perceived Changes in Quality of Life in Trauma Patients

A Focus Group Study

Kruithof, Nena MSc; Traa, Marjan Johanna PhD; Karabatzakis, Maria MSc; Polinder, Suzanne PhD; de Vries, Jolanda PhD; de Jongh, Mariska Adriana Cornelia PhD

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000364

Quality of life (QoL) following a physical trauma is still insufficiently known from a patient perspective. The aim of this study was to qualitatively report perceived changes in QoL after trauma. Focus groups were conducted. Patients admitted to the hospital were eligible for inclusion if they had a lower extremity trauma, severe injuries, or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Patients 75 years or older were invited. To analyze the perceived changes in QoL, open coding was used. Patients (n = 20, M = 55 years) reported comparable consequences. In the first month posttrauma, physical limitations, independency, pain, and anxiety predominated. Later, patients experienced problems with acceptance. The patients' feelings of the need to have control over their own situation, their own expectations, and a social network were related to QoL. Compared with the other patient groups, TBI patients reported more psychosocial consequences, and elderly patients reported more difficulties in performing (social) activities. Quality of health care was considered an important aspect in the patients' perceived QoL, and adequate aftercare was missed according to the patients. The impact of a trauma influences QoL in different health domains. Further improving the quality of aftercare may positively influence trauma patients' perceived QoL. These results indicated that TBI patients and elderly patients deserve specific attention regarding QoL.

Department Trauma TopCare (Mss Kruithof and Karabatzakis and Drs de Vries and de Jongh) and Department of Medical Psychology (Drs Traa and de Vries), Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital, Tilburg, the Netherlands; Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases, Tilburg University, the Netherlands (Drs Traa and de Vries); Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (Dr Polinder); and Network Emergency Care Brabant, Brabant Trauma Registry, Tilburg, the Netherlands (Dr de Jongh).

Correspondence: Nena Kruithof, MSc, Department Trauma TopCare, Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital, Hilvarenbeekseweg 60, 5022 GC Tilburg, the Netherlands (

This work was supported by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) under Grant Number 80-84200-98-14225.

Nena Kruithof, Marjan Johanna Traa, Suzanne Polinder, Jolanda de Vries, and Mariska Adriana Cornelia de Jongh contributed to conception and design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting the article, critical revision of the article, and final approval of the version to be published. Maria Karabatzakis to analysis and interpretation of data, critical revision of the article, and final approval of the version to be published.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2018 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.