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Predicting levels of independence with expressing needs and ideas 1 year after severe brain injury.

Pape TL, Guernon A, Lundgren S, Patil V, Herrold AA, Smith B, Blahnik M, Picon LM, Harton B, Peterson M, Mallinson T, Hoffmann M. Predicting levels of independence with expressing needs and ideas 1 year after severe brain injury. Rehabilitation Psychology. 2013 Aug 1; 58(3):253-62.

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PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE: Severe brain injury (BI) is a catastrophic event often evolving into a complex chronic and severely disabling condition making activity participation possible only with sustained caregiving. One aspect of building sustainable caregiving is early provision of information about expected outcomes germane to patients and their caregivers. An analysis was conducted to determine whether 2 levels of independence with expressing needs and ideas 1-year after severe BI could be predicted using variables available early after injury. METHOD: The authors examined a subsample (n = 79) of participants of an outcome study who received repeated neurobehavioral evaluations with the Disorders of Consciousness Scale (DOCS) and who were assessed 1 year after injury with the Functional Independence Measures (FIM). Explanatory variables included DOCS measures, patient characteristics, coexisting conditions, and interventions. The outcome is measured with the FIM Expression item. Optimal data analysis was used to construct multivariate classification tree models. RESULTS: The 2nd (p = .004) DOCS visual measure and seizure (p = .004) entered the final model providing 79% accuracy in classifying more or less independence with expressing needs and ideas at 1 year. The model will correctly identify 78% of future severe BI survivors who will have more independence and 82% of persons who will have less independence. CONCLUSIONS: For persons incurring severe BI, it is possible to predict, early after injury, more and less independence with expressing needs and ideas 1-year after injury. This evidence is 1 contribution to a larger body of evidence needed to enable early caregiver education about recovery expectations in terms of patient functioning relative to caregiving needs, which in turn will help build sustainable caregiving for this population.

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