Successful outcomes following neurorehabilitation in military traumatic brain injury patients in the United Kingdom

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2015 Oct;79(4 Suppl 2):S197-203. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000000721.


Background: The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court is the UK military rehabilitation unit. A pilot study identified the Mayo-Portland Adaptability Inventory-4 (MPAI-4) as the most appropriate rehabilitation outcome measure in young military patients with acquired brain injury.

Methods: MPAI-4 scores were prospectively recorded for patients on admission and discharge. At 4 months, independent living and employment status were recorded. Inclusion criteria were all new admissions with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Before injury, all patients were fully employed and lived independently.

Results: In a 3-year period from April 2011, there were 91 TBI patients with complete admission-discharge episodes: by US Department of Defense criteria, 21 were mild, 35 were moderate, and 35 were severe. There was a significant positive relationship between TBI severity and MPAI-4 score on admission (χ = 12.77, df = 2, p = 0.0017).Median age was 27 years, and median duration of admission was 63 days. Employment and independent living status were available for 79 patients at 4 months. Seventy-three patients (92%) were in community-based employment, with 64 (81%) employed in a competitive or transitional work; 6 (8%) were unemployed or in sheltered work. Sixty-nine (87%) were living independently, and 10 (13%) were living with support in their own home, with no one requiring institutional care.Complete MPAI-4 scores were available for 79 patients. There were statistically and clinically significant improvements in MPAI-4 scores between admission and discharge for the overall group: median admission T score was 40.0 (95% confidence interval, 36.0-42.0) and on discharge was 31.0 (95% confidence interval, 27.0-36.0), a nine-point change (Z = 6.53, p < 0.0001). These improvements with rehabilitation were sustained when patients were subdivided by TBI severity or MPAI-4 limitations.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates significant functional improvements in military TBI patients following intensive inpatient multidisciplinary rehabilitation, which includes substantial vocational rehabilitation. At 4 months, 92% were employed, and 87% were living independently.

Level of evidence: Therapeutic study, level V; prognostic/epidemiologic study, level IV.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Neurological Rehabilitation*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • United Kingdom