Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation: The Influence of Age and Sex/Gender – What We Know and What We Do Not Know



Advances in acute care after TBI have led to increased survival rates. Consequently, there is a greater focus on inpatient rehabilitation to address long-term cognitive, physical, cognitive and psychosocial needs. However, rehabilitation accounts for a large proportion of costs in the care of TBI patients. In particular, expenditures are greater for patients discharged to inpatient rehabilitation versus other settings. Understanding the optimal treatment and delivery of therapy for different patient populations within inpatient rehabilitation would improve the quality, timeliness and cost-effectiveness of care.

Age and sex/gender are two patient characteristics that significantly predict health service use and outcomes. According to the 2014 National Health charities Canada report, Mapping connections: an understanding neurological conditions in Canada, the elderly Canadian population is growing and is expected to rise from 11% in 2011 to approximately 23% by 2031. Epidemiologic and population based studies have shown that the rates of TBI among older adults are increasing and account for an increasing proportion of admissions to inpatient rehabilitation. The influence of sex/gender on the risk of brain injury has also received more attention in recent years.
Over the last few years, numerous studies have been conducted on the effect of age and sex/gender on functional outcome in patients with traumatic brain injury.

The overarching goal of this education session is to provide current information on the use of health care services, gaps in services, and recommended improvements for these patients by addressing:

  1. The rationale for considering patient age and gender in TBI studies;
  2. The effect of age and sex/gender on functional outcomes in TBI patients;
  3. Effectiveness of treatment types in different age and sex/gender groups; and
  4. Potential future research and recommendations.

The target audience of this symposium includes rehabilitation clinicians, researchers, and policy makers with an interest in acute and post-hospitalization care for TBI.


  • Explain the association between age and gender on recovery from TBI.
  • Review current knowledge on the content and delivery of therapy within inpatient rehabilitation for TBI.
  • Identify knowledge gaps and potential areas for future research in health care service provision for TBI patients.
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