Changes in cognition and continence as predictors of rehabilitation outcomes in individuals with severe traumatic brain injury

David S. Kushner, Doug Johnson-Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The study objective was to examine postacute changes in bowel and bladder continence and cognition after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in persons with long-term functional recovery to full independence. This case series included nine patients initially admitted to inpatient rehabilitation (IR) with severe TBI who had returned to prior responsibilities and functional independence by 8 to 15 mo. Patients had initial Glasgow Coma Scale scores of 3 to 6, posttraumatic amnesia durations of 18 to 70 d, time-to-follow-commands of 16 to 56 d, initial abnormal brain computed tomography scans, and initial pupil abnormalities. IR Functional Independence Measure (FIM) cognitive and sphincter score improvements were compared with national TBI FIM data from Uniform Data Systems for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR) for 2010 (n = 16, 368). All patients had IR improvements in cognitive and sphincter FIM scores approximately twice the national UDSMR data for 2010. All patients had combined IR discharge sphincter FIM scores that were 12 or greater, indicating independence to modified independence with bowel and bladder function with no incontinence. Five participants (55%) were admitted to IR with sphincter FIM scores of 11 to 12, indicating recovery of continence during acute care. These findings suggest potential usefulness of IR cognitive FIM score changes and of the recovery of bowel and bladder continence for predicting favorable functional outcomes following severe TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1068
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of rehabilitation research and development
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2014


  • Fecal incontinence
  • Functional Independence Measure score
  • Outcomes assessment
  • Postacute change
  • Pre-diction
  • Prognosis
  • Rehabilitation
  • TBI
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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