Functional recovery after severe traumatic brain injury: An individual growth curve approach

Tessa Hart*, Allan J. Kozlowski, John Whyte, Ingrid Poulsen, Karin Kristensen, Annette Nordenbo, Allen W. Heinemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective To examine person, injury, and treatment characteristics associated with recovery trajectories of people with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) during inpatient rehabilitation.

Design Observational prospective longitudinal study.

Setting TBI rehabilitation units.

Participantsg Adults (N=206) with severe nonpenetrating TBI admitted directly to inpatient rehabilitation from acute care.

Participantsg were excluded for prior disability and intentional etiology of injury.

Interventions Naturally occurring treatments delivered within comprehensive multidisciplinary teams were recorded daily in 15-minute units provided to patients and family members, separately.

Main Outcome Measures Motor and cognitive FIM were measured on admission, discharge, and every 2 weeks in between and were analyzed with individual growth curve methodology.

Results Inpatient recovery was best modeled with linear, cubic, and quadratic components: relatively steep recovery was followed by deceleration of improvement, which attenuated prior to discharge. Slower recovery was associated with older age, longer coma, and interruptions to rehabilitation. Patients admitted at lower functional levels received more treatment, and more treatment was associated with slower recovery, presumably because treatment was allocated according to need. Therefore, effects of treatment on outcome could not be disentangled from effects of case mix factors.

Conclusions FIM gain during inpatient recovery from severe TBI is not a linear process. In observational studies, the specific effects of treatment on rehabilitation outcomes are difficult to separate from case mix factors that are associated with both outcome and allocation of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2103-2110
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Brain injuries
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional recovery after severe traumatic brain injury: An individual growth curve approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this