To describe the general characteristics and functional outcomes of individuals treated in a publicly funded, long-term, acquired brain injury rehabilitation program and investigate variables affecting functional outcomes in this patient population.
Retrospective database review of demographic, descriptive, and functional outcome assessment data.
Publicly funded, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, long-term, residential brain injury rehabilitation program in Alberta, Canada (64 beds).
All rehabilitation patients admitted to and discharged from the brain injury program from February 1991 to March 1999 (n = 349).
Multidisciplinary rehabilitation program.
Demographic and descriptive information included sex, age at admission, type and severity of injury, time from injury to long-term program admission, and length of stay (LOS). Functional outcome information included level of care required at admission and discharge, admission and discharge Rappaport disability rating scale scores, and admission and discharge FIM instrument and Functional Assessment Measure scores for a subset of patients.
Fifty-nine percent of the subjects had severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and 41% had severe nontraumatic brain injuries (NTBI) of various causes. Mean age at admission was older and LOS was longer for NTBI compared with TBI; there were no other differences between the groups in demographic or descriptive measures. The TBI group had significantly lower admission motor subscale scores than the NTBI group, but the groups did not differ on cognitive scores. All functional assessment measures showed statistically significant improvement from admission to discharge, and 85.6% of patients were discharged to community living after a mean LOS of 359.5 days. Functional status at admission, age at admission, length of time between injury and admission, and LOS in the rehabilitation program significantly correlated with functional improvement.
Patients with severe TBI and NTBI who were not candidates for other more conventional forms of rehabilitation showed significant improvement in functional outcomes after extended program admissions. Consideration was also given to the potential insensitivity of commonly used outcome assessment measures in this population.