Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):91, 5, 2, 111-125
During the past decade the rehabilitation field has developed new, non-hospital based programmes of cognitive, behavioural, social, educational and vocational treatments to address the higher order cognitive, behavioural and social deficits following brain injury. These new arrays of programmes are referred to under the term 'post-acute' rehabilitation. No comprehensive, methodologically sound study of the effects of these new treatments has been made to date. This paper reports data from brain-injured patients who underwent treatment within a co-ordinated system of post-acute brain-injury rehabilitation programmes. This system consists of a continuum of neurobehavioural, residential, day treatment and community and home programmes, and provides overt components of medical and rehabilitation care: behavioural management; activities of daily living, self-management, substance-abuse, social, academic and vocational skills training; counselling; and family education. The changes in function during the course of treatment by this post-acute sequence of rehabilitation have been obtained and are reported here. A defined total population of N = 192 is examined, with exclusions for appropriate causes (e.g. patients seen only for evaluation) producing a study population of N = 173; of these, follow-up was achieved in 145 cases, a follow-up rate of 83.8%. Time from date of injury to data of admission, severity of deficit at time of admission to programme, and other appropriate independent variables are used to characterize the population. A single-blind interview methodology was employed in obtaining dependent measures of outcome at 6, 12, or 24 month periods post-discharge. Measures of outcome included residential status, level of productivity activity and hours per day of attendant care or supervision required. Dependent variables were analysed for the total study population and a subgroup greater than 1 year from date of injury at entry to treatment and not from a treatment facility. Results are presented in terms of the percentage change in dependent measures from the point of admission to follow-up. Appropriate parametric and non-parametric statistical analyses of significance have been carried out. The results document substantial improvements in function during the post-acute rehabilitation of this population and such improvements are unlikely to be the result of spontaneous improvement alone.