As life expectancies of persons with spinal cord injuries increase, this population is aging rapidly. This trend requires that increasing attention be given to the healthcare needs of older persons with spinal cord injury. Follow up data on 11,117 persons injured since 1973 were analyzed by current age at 15-year intervals. Mean time postinjury was 4.7 years. Several trends were observed when comparing persons currently in the 16–30 year age group with persons in the oldest age group (age 76+). The percentage of persons independent in selfcare decreased from 61.9% to 29.1%. Ventilator use increased from 1.7% to 4.3%. Nursing home residence increased from 1.4% to 22.2%. The percentage of persons rehospitalized during the most recent year increased from 26.5% to 33.7%. Age was an important predictor of health status, but time postinjury was less important, perhaps due to the study's short postinjury time frame. While few differences in health status were observed in individuals between 16 and 60 years of age, persons in the oldest two age groups demonstrated lower levels of health status than younger individuals.
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DeVivo, M., Shewchuk, R., Stover, S. et al. A cross-sectional study of the relationship between age and current health status for persons with spinal cord injuries. Spinal Cord 30, 820–827 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1038/sc.1992.158
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