The efficacy of acquired brain injury rehabilitation

Authors: D. L. Brucker, A. Boticello, J. O'Neill, & A. Kutlik
Year Published 2007
Publication Brain Injury
Volume 21
Number 2
Pages 113-132
Publisher Informa Healthcare

There is very limited information available on how to assist individuals with acquired brain injury with return to work. Only 4 papers have published that review the literature on the efficacy of rehabilitation.


The purpose of this review was to investigate the efficacy of rehabilitation interventions in acquired brain injury to inform best practices and identify gaps in knowledge.


This study is a systematic review. The included studies were undertaken in various locations and settings.


The study sample included nine studies involving adults with acquired brain injury.

Data Collection

A systematic review of the literature from 1980–2005 was conducted. A comprehensive search of four electronic databases (CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsycINFO) was conducted covering the years 1980–2005. All studies on the treatment or intervention related to the rehabilitation of acquired brain injury were evaluated for inclusion in the review.


There were no comparison or control conditions.


Based on the findings from a single RCT, there is moderate evidence that inpatient rehabilitation results in successful return to work and return to duty for the majority of military service members. There were three studies that looked at vocational rehabilitation: a cost-benefit analysis, a case series, and an outcome study. Reviews of these studies revealed that there is limited evidence that vocational rehabilitation results in greater total taxpayer benefits than either total program operational costs or government costs; that after vocational rehabilitation the majority of subjects have fair or good adjusted outcome; or that individuals with the most significant cognitive impairments benefit the most from vocational rehabilitation services. One study examined the effectiveness of supported employment. Based on this there is limited evidence that supported employment improves employment outcomes particularly individuals who are older, have more education, have no prior work experience or who have suffered more severe injuries.


More and higher quality research is needed to inform clinical practices related to return to work. The methodology for future studies needs to be improved. Randomized controlled studies are needed to support the efficacy of interventions to assist individuals with acquired brain injury with employment.

Disabilities Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Populations Male & Female
Outcomes Return to work
NIDILRR Funded Not Reported
Research Design Systematic reviews and meta-analysis
Peer Reviewed Yes