Santé mentale après un traumatisme craniocérébral chez les personnes âgées et leurs proches aidants

 

Marie-Christine Ouellet

Université Laval

 

Domaine :  neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Consortium pour le développement de la recherche en traumatologie - Volet 1

Concours 2017-2018

With the ageing of the population, there is a growing number of elderly adults sustaining traumatic brain injuries, mostly due to falls. These injuries often have many consequences for the injured persons and their families. Quite abruptly, elderly adults with traumatic brain injury need to adapt to new cognitive or physical limitations, for example having problems with walking or remembering information efficiently. These problems may add onto other medical or psychological issues which might have been present before the injury. Adapting to the consequences of traumatic brain injury can be very challenging, not only for the injured individual, but also for caregivers. Feelings of discouragement, anxiety, sleeplessness, and exhaustion may arise. Although many persons will adapt well, unfortunately, some may develop significant mental health problems. These conditions can complicate the rehabilitation process and the person's capacity to reintegrate home, community, and activities.

This research project aims at evaluating mental health in elderly persons in the first year after brain injury and to determine whether certain factors can help predict them. We will also explore psychological symptoms (such as depression and anxiety) in caregivers, evaluate their perceived burden and their quality of life. Finally, we will also ask the injured persons and caregivers about their perceived needs in terms of services for their mental health and evaluate whether they have access to services or not. This project will lead to a better understanding of the factors linked to the development of mental health issues in the first few years after brain injury. This knowledge will help better organize services for older adults with TBI and caregivers in order to optimize their mental health. In the long run, more attention to mental health issues should improve quality of life, increase social participation, and reduce burden placed on caregivers.