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Disorders of Consciousness & Cognitive Recovery Following TBI

Recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a complex neurological process. Severe brain injuries commonly result in a wide range of impaired consciousness. Consciousness refers often to a person’s awareness of self and their interactions with their environment. Mild injuries may sometimes cause brief timeframes of impaired consciousness such as confusion or disorientation. However severe injuries may have a period of time whereby they have complete unconsciousness and no awareness of themselves or the world around them. Terms such as Coma, Vegetative State, Minimal Conscious State, Emerging Consciousness and Post-Traumatic Confusion or Post Traumatic Amnesia are often used by professionals caring for your family member but can be confusing to understand.

This video presentation is intended to demonstrate general patterns of improving consciousness following severe traumatic brain injury. In this video, you may learn basic anatomy of TBI and what happens behaviorally step-by-step with improving consciousness. Your family member may not follow this sequence exactly and may skip steps depending on their more specific type of brain injury.

The Rancho Los Amigo’s Scale ranges from 1-10 and is an observational and descriptive scale that rehabilitation professionals may use to describe your family members evolving, and improving patterns of behavior, their thinking or emotions as they recover from their TBI. This scale again is only descriptive and links often back to the anatomy of the brain and what often happens with an injury severe enough to cause disrupted consciousness.

The following videos were created by the Brain Injury Clinical Team at Craig Hospital and highlight the different stages of a traumatic brain injury and recovery process.


Levels 1 to 3

Levels 4 to 6

Levels 7 to 10

All Levels 1 to 10