Treatment challenges with profound behaviour disturbance after traumatic brain injury: A case report

Assaf Y. Dvorkin*, Sonia Pacini, Nancy Hsu, Eric B. Larson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Severe behavioural disturbances exhibited during the earliest stages of recovery from severe traumatic brain injury often limit the ability to provide standard care. Studies that focus on treatment options for inpatients with such behaviours are scarce. There is limited guidance on how to approach therapy that will maximize the patient's tolerance and participation and how to measure meaningful progress. Case report: This case study describes how the use of an innovative treatment approach to improve attention was beneficial in rehabilitation of a patient with severe traumatic brain injury whose profound behaviour disturbances substantially precluded participation in traditional therapies. The study shows how rehabilitation utilizing an interactive virtual reality-robotics environment that minimized distractions was associated with improved engagement in therapy, decreased disruptive behaviour during treatment and more sensitive measurement of progress. Conclusion: These results may be instructive in how technology can be used to modify therapy sessions to make them accessible to patients with profound behaviour disturbance and how meaningful progress can be measured even in the absence of gains in traditional metrics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-961
Number of pages5
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 2013


  • Agitation
  • Attention
  • Brain injury
  • Rehabilitation
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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