Efficacy of Activities of Daily Living Retraining During Posttraumatic Amnesia: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Published:September 22, 2017DOI:



      To assess the efficacy of activities of daily living (ADL) retraining during posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) compared with ADL retraining commencing after emergence from PTA.


      Randomized controlled trial.


      Inpatient rehabilitation center.


      Participants with severe TBI (N=104), admitted to rehabilitation and remaining in PTA for >7 days, were randomized to receive either treatment as usual (TAU) with daily ADL retraining (treatment), or TAU alone (physiotherapy and/or necessary speech therapy) during PTA.


      ADL retraining was manualized, followed errorless and procedural learning principles, and included individualized goals. Both groups received occupational therapy as usual after PTA.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Primary outcome was the FIM completed at admission, PTA emergence, discharge, and 2-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes included length of rehabilitation inpatient stay, PTA duration, Agitated Behavior Scale scores, and Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ) scores at follow-up. Groups did not significantly differ in baseline characteristics.


      On the primary outcome, FIM total change, random effects regression revealed a significant interaction of group and time (P<.01). The treatment group had greater improvement in FIM scores from baseline to PTA emergence, which was maintained at discharge, but not at follow-up. Twenty-seven percent more of the treatment group reliably changed on FIM scores at PTA emergence. Group differences in length of stay, PTA duration, agitation, and CIQ scores were not significant; however, TAU trended toward longer length of stay and PTA duration.


      Individuals in PTA can benefit from skill retraining.


      List of abbreviations:

      ABS (Agitated Behavior Scale), ADL (activities of daily living), CI (confidence interval), CIQ (Community Integration Questionnaire), LOS (length of stay), PTA (posttraumatic amnesia), RCT (randomized controlled trial), TAU (treatment as usual), TBI (traumatic brain injury)
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