Disability evaluation following traumatic brain injury

L. A. McPeak, W. M. Stiers, D. N. Cope

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Accurate disability evaluation of a patient with TBI is a very difficult and detailed process. It requires an excellent background concerning the evaluation of all the physical, cognitive, behavioral, and functional abnormalities associated with TBI. Texts that highlight all these abnormalities include Medical Rehabilitation of Traumatic Brain Injury by Horn and Zasler6 and Rehabilitation of the Adult and Child with Traumatic Brain Injury by Rosenthal et al.13 In addition, appropriate disability rating can only be performed by a physician with expert skills in obtaining accurate historical information and completing a detailed physical examination. Often, the historical information must be obtained from many sources because the patient may supply inaccurate information because of his or her cognitive deficits. Interviews with family members, caregivers, therapists, friends, and employers are sometimes necessary to obtain an accurate historical picture. Premorbid functioning, behavior, and personality are important because previous abnormalities are often exaggerated after the TBI. The physical examination should be tailored to provide detailed objective information concerning all deficits identified through the history. If cognitive and behavioral problems are identified through either the history or examination, a neurospychologic assessment is necessary. All this information should be available before the disability or impairment rating. Only with detailed information can a clinician provide an accurate rating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-601
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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