Long-term functional outcomes in the elderly after burn injury

Tina L Palmieri, Fred Molitor, Chan Grace Chan, Phelan Elizabeth Phelan, J. Shier Brian, Soman Sen, David G Greenhalgh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Although the elderly represent a substantial proportion of the population, limited information exists on postdischarge long-term outcomes of elderly burn survivors. The purpose of this study was to assess elderly burn patient outcomes 2 to 10 years after discharge. This study was a prospective cross-sectional survey assessment of quality of life and retrospective trauma registry for the American College of Surgeons review of patients = 60 years of age discharged alive after acute burn from 1997 to 2007. In-hospital treatment and burn demographic information were obtained from database and chart review. Surviving patients or their families were contacted, and the Short-Form-12 and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) administered. Of the 344 patients discharged, 232 participated. Mean age was 72.3 (60-85.8) years, TBSA burn was 7.8% (1-79), and length of stay was 11.2 ± 0.9 days (1-51). Most patients were discharged home (71%) or to a skilled nursing facility (SNF; 20%). Mean interval between discharge and survey administration was 46.1 months. In all, 24% of patients sent home died after discharge and prior to interview compared with 58% of patients sent to an SNF. On multivariate analysis, mortality increased with age (confidence interval [CI] 1.04-1.09), and government insurance (CI 0.34-0.94), but decreased with discharge to home (CI 1.68-4.47). There were no differences in FIM or Short-Form-12 scores between groups. Long-term mortality after discharge in elderly burn survivors is substantial. Patients sent to an SNF or with government insurance had increased mortality postdischarge. These data suggest that issues that may influence disposition status of elderly burn patients should be optimized prior to discharge to mitigate adverse outcomes associated with SNF placement. (J Burn Care Res 2012;33:497-503).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-503
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery


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