Brain Injury Rehabilitation Protocols

Interesting update on TBI rehabilitation methods at the National Academy of Neuropsychology conference last week. The recovery period for even a “mild” traumatic brain injury can last for several months, and more severe injuries usually require a much longer period. TBI symptoms can many times include emotional regulation problems (commonly part of PTSD), along with cognitive issues with attention, memory retention, and learning.

Christopher Bell and Margo Villarosa from Walton Rehabilitation Health in Augusta, GA provided a detailed overview on their brain injury rehabilitation program, which is based on the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation brain injury protocol, or Rusk Protocol. The protocol has the following components:

• 20-24 weekly outpatient sessions, with a minimum of 2 hours for each group session
• Emotional self-regulation training
• Practical problem solving training– “Clear Thinking”
• Achieve the best competence and stability of daily living arrangements for each patient
• Patient:Staff ratio of approx 2:1

This is a fairly intensive outpatient model that requires a significant 6 month commitment from both patients and staff. It is also a realistic model that recognizes that both cognitive and emotional rehabilitation is necessary with many forms of TBI.

The Walton Rehabilitation staff that presented the protocol also mentioned that the nearby Eisenhower Medical Center at Ft. Gordon may use the Rusk protocol for service members with blast related TBI.

Readers can contact me if they would like a copy of this rehabilitation protocol.