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Vocational rehabilitation is a cost effective program for persons with traumatic brain injuries

Categories: Employment

The Question

Does vocational rehabilitation produce effective results for persons with traumatic brain injury and what does it cost to do so?

Past Studies 

Past Studies: Demonstrated that finding a job is extremely difficult for people with brain injuries, and showed that vocational rehabilitation, which is usually governmentally funded, increased the chances of a person with a brain injury finding a job, and staying with it.

This Study

This Study: Looked at over a hundred people with traumatic brain injuries of various levels of severity as they progressed through Missouri’s program of vocational rehabilitation. The researchers tracked the costs spent on each of these people and how well they did in the program. They found that, contrary to their expectations, many people with severe memory problems were able to find employment, that more money was spent on those people with more severe impairments, and that tests of impairment that tracked relative decline (that is, tests that compared a person’s pre- and post-injury performance) were better predictors of success than those which rated a person against a fixed set of scores.

Who May Be Affected By This Study

People with brain injuries who may be trying to get back to work.


The researchers did not look at how people going through other vocational rehabilitation programs did. The people who went through this particular vocational rehabilitation program specifically sought it out, instead of simply being sent to it, which meant that they had a motivation to stay and work hard, and to look for work.

Bottom Line

Some people with severe brain injuries can find a job, if they go through a well-funded vocational rehabilitation program.


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Find This Study

In vol. 14 no. 3 of the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

Johnstone, Brick; Schopp, Laura H.; Harper, John; and Koscuilek, John. “Neuropsychological Impairments, Vocational Outcomes, and Financial Costs for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury Receiving State Vocational Rehabilitation Services”. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 1999, 14(3), pp. 220-232.


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