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There is a scarcity of research investigating interdisciplinary early rehabilitation intervention models for people with low levels of responsiveness following acquired brain injury. This is particularly problematic for service models in acute hospital settings where early rehabilitation of such patients may be assigned a low priority in comparison to other competing demands. This pilot study investigated the feasibility of implementing an interdisciplinary early rehabilitation intervention in an acute neurosciences ward within existing staffing, and describes clinical changes among intervention participants. A prospective longitudinal study, with a matched historical control (individually matched by Glasgow Coma Scale) was undertaken. Prospective intervention participants (n = 13) received up to twice-weekly interdisciplinary intervention in addition to usual care. Matched historical controls (n = 13) received only usual care. Implementing an interdisciplinary early intervention proved feasible in this acute care setting. Significant improvement (alpha = .05) among the patients receiving the interdisciplinary intervention was observed across all clinical outcomes, including: Coma Recovery Scale-Revised, Glasgow Coma Scale, Mental Status Questionnaire, Royal Brisbane Hospital Outcome Measure for Swallowing, selected subtests of the Functional Independence Measure, Acquired Brain Injury Physiotherapy Assessment and the Clinical Outcomes Variable Scale. A future randomised clinical trial is warranted.

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Journal Article

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