Postcomatose Unawareness in a Brain-Injured Population

J Neurosci Nurs. 1998 Apr;30(2):129-34. doi: 10.1097/01376517-199804000-00007.


Different states of unawareness are present following a coma in the brain-injured population. An attempt to answer three questions is made based on a review of the literature and multiple case studies: Which type of sensory and motor stimulation can be suggested? Which instruments can be used to measure behaviors and what are their benefits and limitation? Does learning theory help explain the postcomatose unawareness experience? The theoretical paradigm strongly suggests employing learning theory to target a precise behavior to unmask learning potential and to use known remediation mechanisms such as errorless learning or implicit learning. Speculations in the area of unmasking potential are available; these require intervention to target specific function that could be lost with nonuse.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / nursing
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / nursing
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coma / nursing
  • Coma / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Nursing Assessment