Course of functional improvement after stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury

Rita K. Bode*, Allen W. Heinemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine functional improvement patterns of persons with stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Statistical analysis of data from a multisite study evaluating rehabilitation outcomes. Setting: Eight inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Participants: A total of 314 consecutive admissions of persons with stroke, SCI, and TBI who received acute medical rehabilitation between 1994 and 1998. Intervention: Calibration of motor and cognitive items from the FIM™ instrument, grouping of cases by number of weeks of rehabilitation (length of stay [LOS] groups), and plotting of weekly averages across time. Main Outcome Measures: Weekly motor and cognitive functional status. Results: With the exception of cognitive functioning for persons with SCI, LOS was related to initial functional status, with patients with greater disability having longer LOS (eg, initial motor status for persons with stroke was 48.3 for those with a 2-week stay, 36.8 for a 6-week stay, with the averages between decreasing monotonically). With the exception of cognitive gains for person with TBIs, the amount of functional gain during rehabilitation was essentially the same for all LOS groups (eg, the overall average total motor gain for persons with SCI is 22.3, with no patterns of increase or decrease across LOS groups); however, the rate of improvement in motor (but not cognitive) functioning differed across LOS groups, with patients with shorter stays having the greater rates of improvement (eg, the overall average weekly motor gain for persons with SCI was 3.6, with the averages by LOS group monotonically decreasing from 6.4 for those with 4-week stays to 2.7 for those with 9-week stays). Conclusions: When examined separately for persons grouped by LOS, functional status improved linearly during the rehabilitation stay, with differences in rate of improvement depending on initial functional status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Brain injuries
  • Length of stay
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Stroke
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Course of functional improvement after stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this