Perceived Changes in Quality of Life in Trauma Patients: A Focus Group Study

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Abstract

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.

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