Research shows rehabilitation potential for coma patients

A study conducted at Thumbay Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Hospital in Ajman, UAE has demonstrated the potential of neurorehabilitation for patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (PDOC). PDOC is an umbrella term referring to conditions where a person’s ability to be conscious is affected for a prolonged period. This often includes conditions such as coma, vegetative state (VS), and minimally conscious state (MCS).

Neurorehabilitation aims to retrain the nervous system, assisting patients in regaining control over their muscles and sensations. It employs a variety of strategies, including exercises, therapeutic interventions, and other treatments, to stimulate muscle growth and strength, reduce the risk of muscle atrophy and deformity, and improve overall physical function.

Pivotal Findings: PDOC and Neurorehabilitation

Analysing data from 21 patients with PDOC, the researchers found that neurorehabilitation significantly boosted superficial sensation and forestalled the onset of musculoskeletal deformities in these patients. There was no significant deterioration in the range of motion, muscle girth, or muscle power, indicating that these were well-preserved during the rehabilitation process.

Although the rehabilitation resulted in no change in the individual’s state of consciousness – measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale – the study saw that the patients’ range of motion was maintained, suggesting neurorehabilitation also aids in maintaining flexibility and joint function. Both muscle girth and power were well-preserved throughout the two-year study period, indicating that neurorehabilitation can effectively combat muscle atrophy, a common concern for patients with long-term immobility or neurological disorders.

Filling the Knowledge Gap: PDOC and Neurorehabilitation

This research fills a gap in knowledge concerning the outcomes of neurorehabilitation in patients with PDOC. While previous studies have shown the benefits of neurorehabilitation in patients with acute disorders of consciousness, this study extends the understanding to patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness.

This research is interesting and valuable to legal teams who represent patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (PDOC), proving that these patients, despite their condition, possess significant potential for rehabilitation and have the potential to derive considerable benefit from long-term neurorehabilitation, leading to improved physical health and quality of life.

Tools for Negotiation: PDOC, Neurorehabilitation, and Compensation

This knowledge is a powerful tool for legal teams when advocating for their clients, particularly when negotiating for appropriate compensation. By understanding the positive impact of neurorehabilitation on PDOC patients, legal teams can more effectively argue for the necessary resources and support their clients need for their long-term care and recovery.

NRC Medical Experts: Your Partner in Expert Medical Insights

At NRC Medical Experts, we are ready to support legal professionals with expert medical insights on cases involving PDOC.

To engage an expert witness specialising in this area, please contact us or search our Directory.

Discover More: Access the Full Study

Saif M, Sharbatti S A, Nemmar A, et al. (May 10, 2023) Outcomes of Neurorehabilitation Among Patients With Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness, Cureus, 10.7759/cureus.38816.

Access the full article here