Clinician perspectives on decision-making capacity after acquired brain injury

Debjani Mukherjee*, Carol McDonough

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Acquired brain injury frequently alters an individual's ability to make health care decisions based on a clear understanding of the situation and options. This exploratory study investigated the ways health care providers address issues of decision-making capacity (DMC) on a daily, functional basis. 33 clinicians providing rehabilitation services to persons with acquired brain injury participated in 1 of 5 semi-structured focus groups. All 33 participants, representing 8 different occupations, agreed that DMC determinations affected their practice every day. Participants underscored a multidimensional rather than a unitary definition of DMC, with an emphasis on fluctuating capacities due to the injury. Important concerns were for the safety of the person with brain injury, the health care provider, and community members. Other themes included rehabilitation team involvement, family context, and professional socialization. Clinical determinations of DMC are context dependent and are affected by the abilities of the individual and the substance and consequences of the decision being made and include the concepts of regaining trust and reclaiming capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalTopics in stroke rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Acquired brain injury
  • Clinical ethics
  • Decision-making capacity
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Community and Home Care
  • Clinical Neurology


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