Short- and Long-Term Rehabilitation Services


Inpatient Rehabilitation Services


  • Focus on treatment in the early stages of recovery from TBI.
  • Typically recommended if there is evidence of notable physical, cognitive and/or behavioral difficulties after moderate to severe TBI.
  • Treatment includes supervision of medical needs by a medical doctor and 24 hour nursing care.
  • Rehabilitation therapies are provided by a multi-disciplinary team of health care providers.
  • Patient, family and treatment team typically work together to identify specific goals of rehabilitation.
    • Overall goal is to help improve person's functioning so they can be discharged to the least restrictive setting, typically home.
  • Inpatient rehabilitation facilities provide 3+ hours of therapy per day.
  • The median length of hospitalization is 18 days.1


Outpatient Rehabilitation Services


  • Individuals can be referred for outpatient rehabilitation therapies directly from the hospital or when they are discharged from inpatient rehabilitation.
  • Outpatient services may be offered by Rehabilitation Hospitals or in community-based clinics.
  • Outpatient services may include all or some of the following therapies, depending on the needs of the individual:
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Speech therapy
    • Psychological services
  • Outpatient therapies may be offered for many months after the injury, as a continuation of the rehabilitation services provided in other settings (e.g., Inpatient Rehabilitation).
  • Outpatient therapies may also be recommended after a period of no treatment, if specific goals are identified that may be achieved with therapy (e.g., use of assistive technologies to improve functioning).


Nursing Homes and Skilled Nursing Facilities


  • Referral to nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities may occur for individuals with severe TBI when:
    • Persons no longer need the high level of medical care provided at the acute hospital, but they are not yet able to participate in inpatient rehabilitation.
    • Persons have made progress in inpatient rehabilitation, but their progress has slowed and they are not yet able to be discharged to their home.
  • Often these facilities do not provide brain injury specific rehabilitation.
  • However, typical therapies may include physical, occupational and/or speech therapy.


Because functioning may change over time, persons with TBI benefit from ongoing monitoring of functioning after rehabilitation.


1. Ottenbacher, K.J., Smith, P.M., Illig, S.B., Linn, R.T., Ostir, G.V., & Granger, C.V. (2004). Trends in length of stay, living setting, functional outcome, and mortality following medical rehabilitation. Journal of the American Medical Association, 292, 1687-1695.