Authors: Shiel A, Burn JPS, Henry D, Clark J, Wilson BA, Burnett ME, McLellan DL
Title: The effects of increased rehabilitation therapy after brain injury: results of a prospective controlled trial
Source: Clinical Rehabilitation 2001 15(5): 501-514
Year: 2001
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 06/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - Y
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to investigate the effect of increased intensity of rehabilitation therapy provided to brain-injured subjects on the rate at which independence was regained and the duration of hospital admission. DESIGN: A two-centre, prospective, controlled study with random allocation to groups. SETTING: Two district general hospitals on the south coast of England. SUBJECTS: Fifty-six people with moderate and severe head injury consecutively admitted to Southampton and Poole hospitals between June 1995 and September 1997. INTERVENTIONS: Increased intensity of rehabilitation therapy input without change in content. RESULTS: Subjects receiving more intensive therapy made more rapid progress and were discharged home sooner. The different intensities of therapy employed in this study showed no evidence of a 'ceiling' effect and the 'intervention group' made significantly more rapid progress on tests of dependency during the period of admission. A clear response to increased therapy input was seen in one of the centres with more rapid functional improvement and a shorter length of hospital stay. This centre already had more therapy and better community facilities. No such benefits were seen at the other centre where the intervention group had a longer hospital stay than the routine group. CONCLUSION: Increasing the hours per week of therapy given to adults recovering from brain injury in hospital can accelerate the rate of recovery of personal independence and result in their being discharged from hospital sooner. Increased rehabilitation therapy after brain injury is associated with enhanced functional recovery and shorter hospital stay if provided in the context of an integrated service that can provide ongoing community support. There is no evidence of any ceiling effect of therapeutic intensity beyond which no further response is observed. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved ©

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