Recovery and Rehabilitation Time

How long will it take the client to regain his or her highest level of functioning? That depends upon the following factors:

  • The site and depth of injury
  • Medical complications
  • The age of the client
  • How much time was spent in a coma
  • Premorbid personality
  • Time between the date of the injury and the date of admission to rehabilitation
  • Family involvement (positive and negative)
  • Staff commitment to the client

A number of studies have indicated that postacute rehabilitation results in significant gains toward the best possible recovery and outcome. One study in particular (Ashley and Persel, 1999) strongly suggests that postacute rehabilitation, and in particular rehabilitation that occurs as soon as possible after the injury, markedly augments the natural recovery process resulting in an improved rate of recovery, greater independence for the person, and at a much lower cost to the funding party.

Recent studies have also demonstrated that gains made in rehabilitation are sustained for many years after discharge. However, vocational and emotional status don't seem to fair as well as other areas. It is possible that the complex psychosocial nature of work places demands on the person with TBI that result in vocational instability. Vocational counseling and long-term support may be necessary beyond the standard postacute rehabilitation framework.

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