BRIEF REPORT| Volume 103, ISSUE 9, P1866-1869, September 2022

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Cognitive Dependence in Physically Independent Patients at Discharge From Acute Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Published:February 20, 2022DOI:



      To determine the incidence of cognitive dependence in adults who are physically independent at discharge from acute traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation.


      Analysis of historical clinical and demographic data obtained from inpatient stay.


      Inpatient rehabilitation unit in a large, metropolitan university hospital.


      Adult inpatients with moderate to severe TBI (N=226) who were physically independent at discharge from acute rehabilitation.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      FIM Motor and Cognitive subscales, discharge destination, and care plan.


      Approximately 69% (n=155) of the physically independent inpatients were cognitively dependent at discharge from acute rehabilitation, with the highest proportions of dependence found in the domains of problem solving and memory. Most (82.6%; n=128) of these physically independent, yet cognitively dependent, patients were discharged home. Of those discharged home, 82% (n=105) were discharged to the care of family members, and 11% (n=15) were discharged home alone. Patients from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds were significantly more likely than White patients to be discharged while cognitively dependent.


      The majority of physically independent patients with TBI were cognitively dependent at the time of discharge from acute inpatient rehabilitation. Further research is needed to understand the effect of cognitive dependence on caregiver stress and strain and the disproportionate burden on racial and ethnic minority patients and families. Given the potential functional and safety limitations imposed by cognitive deficits, health care policy and practice should facilitate delivery of cognitive rehabilitation services in acute TBI rehabilitation.


      List of abbreviations:

      TBI (traumatic brain injury), UDS (Uniform Data System)
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