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Gains Made in Post-acute Rehabilitation appear to be Maintained Several Years after Discharge

Categories: Recovery - Long Term

The Question

Are the gains made by people with brain injuries in a post-acute rehabilitation program maintained several years after discharge?

Past Studies

Past Studies show that post-acute rehabilitation programs can assist persons with brain injury to become more independent and enhance the possibility of returning to the community. However, previous studies are limited in that they have not considered other factors that can affect the outcome, such as injury severity. Also, few studies have followed people over time to see if the gains they made in rehabilitation were maintained over time.

This Study

This Study included 34 persons with brain injury who participated in a rehabilitation program during a three-year period. Their abilities at the time they left the program were compared to their abilities approximately one year later. They have re-evaluated again between 2 and 5 years after their injury. Researchers used well-tested measures of outcome, including the Community Integration Questionnaire and the Disability Rating Scale. While individuals within the group experienced varying degrees of gains and losses when re-evaluated, the group as a whole appeared to maintain the improvements gained in the rehabilitation program.

Who May Be Affected By These Findings

Persons with brain injuries and their families, health care providers, researchers.


This study examined a small amount of people with similar characteristics. A larger group with diverse backgrounds may provide information that could be generalized to all persons with brain injuries or specific subgroups. The rehabilitation program studied emphasized bridging skills into community settings, which may have made it more likely that gains would be maintained upon community reentry.

Bottom Line

Gains made in post-acute brain injury rehabilitation appear to be retained for several years for some persons with brain injuries. The group, as a whole, demonstrated retention of abilities. Some individuals within the study experienced skill loss. Further research is needed to further analyze individual differences associated with gain maintenance.

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Find This Study

Sander, A. M.; Roebuck, T. M.; Struchen, M. A.; Sherer, M.; & High, W. M., Jr. (2001) Long-term maintenance of gains obtained in post-acute rehabilitation by persons with TBI. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, (4), 356-373.

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