Discharging to a Nursing Home: Not a Terminal Event--A Follow-Up Study of Senior Motor Vehicle Crash Patients

Aaland, Mary O.; Leffers, Kevin; Thein Hlaing
September 2006
American Surgeon;Sep2006, Vol. 72 Issue 9, p815
Academic Journal
Discharge to a nursing home (NH) because of chronic debilitating diseases or old age is generally a terminal event. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the NH outcome of senior citizens injured in motor vehicle crashes (MVC) discharged to a NH. From 2000 through 2004, 157 patients 75 years and older were admitted to the hospital for MVC. Of these, 32 patients were discharged to a NH, and these patients or their proxies were interviewed by telephone in June 2005 to request information as to driving status before and after the MVC, feeding, expression, and locomotion status, and/or date of death. After discharged from the NH, 72 per cent (23/32) of the patients lived at home, 52.2 per cent (12/23) among the drivers returned to drive, and those with functional impairments (excluding the five NH deaths and four still remaining in a NH) at the time of hospital discharge had 100 per cent or partial improvement in three functional independent measures at the time of the interview: 5 cases in feeding, 2 in expression, and 20 in locomotion. Eleven of the 20 individuals dependent or partially dependent in locomotion status were fully independent. The majority of the senior patients discharged to a NH after a MVC returned to a normal life by going back home, driving again, and regaining functional activities after NH discharge. Discharge to a NH for elderly MVC trauma patients may be regarded as a steppingstone to independent living rather than a final resting place.


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