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Common Brain Injury Impacts at the 5-Year Mark

Brain injuries, which sometimes occur in a car wreck, can have a long-lasting impact on patients. Many people don’t realize how significant these effects can be, but taking a look at some common issues that plague people five years after their traumatic brain injury provides a glimpse into how difficult life is for these individuals.

On average, a person who has at least a moderate TBI will have their life expectancy reduced by around nine years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there are several demographics of patients who are likely to pass away sooner than others after a TBI.

  • Men
  • Unmarried individuals
  • Lesser educated patients
  • Older adults
  • Unemployed people
  • Fall-related TBI patients
  • More severe TBI case

Life-altering impacts

Some patients can’t care for themselves after a TBI. Approximately 12% of victims live in an institutional setting, including nursing homes, and 33% rely on daily help from others if they aren’t institutionalized. Around 57% are severely or moderately disabled, and 55% of patients had a job at the time of their injury but are unable to hold one at five years after the accident.

About half of patients end up back in the hospital at least once during that five-year period. They are six times more likely to have pneumonia, nine times more likely to have infections and 50 times more likely to have seizures than the average person. Accidental drug poisoning also increases dramatically.

Being unhappy with their life is another issue. It plagues 29% of people who have this type of injury. Around 29% of patients misuse alcohol or turn to illegal drugs.

Overall, 30% of patients are worse at the five-year mark after the injury, 22% died, 22% remained the same, and 26% improved. These statistics might have a negative impact on the patient because they focus on the less desirable outcomes.

Facing the future

The quality of health care a person receives can affect the outcome they have. Coordinated care over the remainder of their life can improve the situation. This can decrease some of the financial impact by having the entire medical team work toward common goals. It can also reduce the frustration and stress that the patient and their caregivers will experience.

Because the cost of these injuries is so great, patients who were injured by the negligence of another party might opt to seek compensation. A successful case transfers the financial impact from the victim to the liable parties.